Thank you for subscribing to the quarterly Arsenal of Innovation News. This edition is dedicated to the segment of the defense industry with the highest rate of spending in the DoD budget for the foreseeable future, Aerospace. Fighters, new technologies and unmanned aerial platforms are poised to receive higher obligations and contracts than any other sector, creating new opportunities for Michigan contractors. In this edition you will find highlights we have pulled from the Pentagon’s proposed budget to assist you in understanding where this sector of the industry is heading.

If you live in Michigan you know that the auto industry is the engine behind our economy, and it therefore make sense that the Department of Defense and the defense industry would also recognize Michigan as a Center of Excellence for ground systems. But what many don’t know, is just how large Michigan’s footprint is in the Aerospace market, and our Michigan-based prime contractors offer much to build on. In this edition you will read about two of these successful aerospace Michigan companies, CRI in Grand Rapids and Kalitta Air in Oscoda, who share ways in which the state of Michigan has helped them grow their companies.

Click the link below to see Michigan’s Aerospace statistics


While the federal budget projections offer opportunities in aerospace, proposed budget cuts are causing angst in Southeastern Michigan. Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township has been thrust into the national argument over whether the fighter A-10 Warthogs should survive Pentagon cost cuts, which, could not just hobble Michigan Air National Guard’s ability to compete for new missions, but, could indeed endanger the Base’s very existence.   In this edition, you will read Congresswoman Candice Miller’s reasoning and arguments to keep these Vietnam-era planes as an integral component of our modern Air Force.


In 2013, The Michigan Defense Center was at the center of efforts to pursue a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) RFP competing for one of the nation’s six proposed Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) test site designations. The Michigan Advanced Aerial Systems Consortium, with support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and The Michigan Defense Center, proposed Alpena as a site. Out of the more than 50 proposals submitted, Michigan’s UAS assets, Universities, research, airspace and supply chain capabilities helped make our state a finalist, although, in the end Michigan was not one of the chosen. This effort did illustrate, however, the opportunities and capabilities that Michigan brings to the table on future projects and potential partnerships in this growing and important sector of the defense industry. Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAV) is expected to experience dynamic growth in the next ten years, doubling from $6.6 billion to $11.4 billion annually. Validation from aerospace experts proves that Michigan has critical UAS ecosystem foundational building blocks. In the months ahead, The Defense Center will work with the University of Michigan, Western Michigan University, the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturer’s Association, the Michigan National Guard, MDOT Aeronautics, and others to align and leverage our assets so that we can grow this new sector in Michigan, leading to more and better jobs for Michigan families.

The Michigan Defense Center has rolled out the Bid Targeting System (BTS), an economic gardening tool, designed to support Michigan companies. This software-based system, designed by and for the Michigan Defense Center will provide significant support to medium and small Michigan companies that have limited resources to review potential federal government bid opportunities. The BTS has been licensed exclusively to the Michigan PTACs to deploy. Contact your local Michigan PTAC to learn more about how this tool can support your contracting efforts.

And, speaking of PTACs, the Michigan Defense Center congratulates the Northwest Michigan PTAC for being recognized among their peers nationally and receiving the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC) Outstanding Project Award for 2013.  The award was presented for their collaboration with several organizations to assist the Marinette Marine Corporation with their Littoral Combat Ship contract supply chain.  Congratulations to the team at Northwest Michigan PTAC and Director, Anne Helbig!

In May, the Michigan Defense Center, along with a Michigan delegation of cyber experts, engaged in a series of discussions on Cyber security with the White House, Department of Homeland Security, and the new CIO of Department of Defense. Our collective message is centered on leveraging Michigan’s talent and IT infrastructure to build Michigan’s presence in this growing sector. We look forward to continuing these discussions and pursuing this strategy of opening new and emerging markets to our Michigan companies.

Recently, MING Deputy Adjutant General Stone, Macomb County Deputy Executive Melissa Roy, and myself travelled to DC and presented information to the Michigan Congressional Delegation about the impact that the Department of Defense and in particular, TACOM/TARDEC has on job creation in Michigan. These key decision-makers and stakeholders appreciated our message about the depth and breadth of the Michigan Defense and Homeland Security industry in Michigan.

And this past week, leaders from the MEDC’s Michigan Defense Center and the Automotive Industry Office, had the opportunity to welcome TACOM’s new Commander of the Life Cycle Management Command to Michigan. In the sit down meeting with Major General Bingham, only 2 weeks into her command, we were able to share highlights of Michigan and our substantial defense industry as well as let her know how much the state is invested in her success. Commanding General Bingham certainly understands the importance of TACOM/TARDEC to Michigan and our nation’s defense and the substantial value that Michigan’s strengths bring to our brave men and women in uniform. We look forward to maintaining a close working relationships with her and her staff as we craft a comprehensive message that highlights the importance and impact that TACOM/TARDEC in Michigan has on the war-fighter and the taxpayer.

We hope that in this edition of the Arsenal of Innovation News you find information and inspiration that you can use.


Sean Carlson

Michigan Defense Center Executive Director

MEDC VP Federal Procurement and Export