The beginning of a new year is always cause for reflection on accomplishments and lessons of the old year and anticipation and planning for the new.

2013 was a watershed year for the Michigan Defense Center (MDC), an operation of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).  For the first time since its legislative inception in 2006, the Michigan Defense Center developed and implemented a Strategic 5 Year Plan. Our mission is focused and our plan is clear, the Strategic Plan is specifically designed to document Michigan’s extensive defense and homeland security industry, communicate with and inform stakeholders, industry leaders and legislators and ultimately to support and grow business and create jobs among the thousands of Suppliers, Engineers and Innovators in Michigan. Click here for a sampling of the Michigan PTAC clients supporting our Soldiers’ missions.

While Michigan is already home to major Army assets, robust National Guard units and testing facilities, 4,000 companies engaged in DoD/Homeland Security contracting and $4.7 Billion in contract awards, this state can achieve a bigger piece of the pie. The challenge in growing this sector is made greater by the fact that the Department of Defense budget is shrinking and priorities are shifting from tactical wartime necessities to cyber, robotics and other strategical and long-range missions. And, as the federal government transforms, so too, the Michigan Defense Center and the Michigan Defense Industry transitions to leverage these changes.    The talent, innovation and spirit of Michigan companies and leaders hold great potential for meeting the new needs of the nation’s defense, and growing their bottom line as well.

To assist our Michigan National Security businesses, the MDC has:

  • Formed key agreements with strategic partners
  • Developed effective economic gardening tools to support our small businesses and facilitate business connections with prime suppliers
  • Hired additional resources and categorized responsibilities
  • Created a marketing plan and informational program to interest buyers and sellers in our Michigan companies as well as attract out-of-state companies to Michigan

Strategic Partners
In this newsletter, some of MDC’s Strategic Partners have shared their work with the Michigan Defense Center in 2013 and the ways in which we have partnered to bring value to our businesses and residents.

Macomb County, the indisputable epicenter of the Michigan defense sector, and the MDC worked side by side in 2013 to develop the “Arsenal of Innovation” marketing plan for the defense industry in Michigan.   The focus of the plan is to share the key resources that we have in Michigan and to leverage and assist Michigan companies in winning government contracts.   As we continue to work with the county to fund and guide the industry of the future, stay tuned for matchmaking events, industry seminars and panel discussions focused on robotics, cyber security and other potential markets for growth in Michigan.

The Michigan Defense Center partners with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to fund and support the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC). The Michigan PTAC network continues to be the most robust in the country with 11 locations to assist Michigan companies in registering and gaining federal contracts.   Now, more than ever, the PTACs will be integrated more closely with the MDC,  providing more services and tools to help companies gain the upper hand in government contracts, resulting in more Michigan jobs.  Together the MDC and Michigan PTACs are here to serve your federal contracting needs.  Find your PTAC here.

In 2014, “Velocity” in Sterling Heights will become the operational headquarters for the Michigan Defense Center’s Arsenal of Innovation.  Co-located under the same roof as the Macomb/OU incubator , The DARPA Program led by Oakland University, the Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC) as well as local and regional economic development offices, the MDC will build undeniable momentum and opportunity to expand the Michigan Defense Center’s ability to support Michigan businesses and grow jobs.  Watch your emails for announcements of 2014 events hosted by MDC at Velocity.

The MDC will continue to support the unique and effective programs offered by Automation Alley. These programs include DMSMS (Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages) Program, and SERA( Sustainment Engineering Risk Assessment) Programs, which you can read about in this edition of the Arsenal of Innovation News.  In 2014 the Michigan Defense Center will finalize its partnership with Automation Alley and TARDEC through CRADA projects to be announced.

Economic Gardening Tools
This past year, in order to provide effective assistance and growth to the Michigan Defense Community, The MDC developed and is fielding new and exciting economic gardening tools:

  • BTS (Bid Targeting System) – In 2013, the Michigan Defense Center developed the BTS, a proprietary software system designed to target and prioritize opportunities for Michigan companies.  This tool will help facilitate small company’s decisions on what bids to pursue.  It will also serve as a prioritization tool for the MDC staff and PTACs to better forecast opportunities for companies, well in advance of the bid posting. Click here to view snapshot.
  •  Bid Writing Services – This past October the MDC put out a solicitation for bidwriting services, the most tedious, difficult, yet important aspect of successful government contracting. The MDC will prequalify bid writing companies  to support Michigan small businesses as  they pursue DoD/DHS government contracts.  Based on the company’s BTS rating, the Michigan Defense Center may also provide subsidies to assist companies in hiring prequalified experienced contract writers.

Focused Support
The new year also brings new faces and talent to the Michigan Defense Center.  The MDC has brought on board “Business Development Managers” dedicated to specific areas of Defense and Homeland Security industries. Our Business Development Mangers will seek to identify long-range bid opportunities, partnership and matchmaking possibilities and will have a comprehensive understanding of:

  • Aerospace
  • Land & Ground Systems
  • Maritime
  • Homeland & Cyber Security
  • SBIR/STTR grants and Research and Development

Email the Defense Center for more information or to reach the Business Development Managers.

As the MDC looks forward to growing our network of Stakeholders and Industry Leaders in 2014, we will be hosting a series of informational and industry specific events. Slated for the next calendar year:

  • Aerospace markets in Michigan
  • Land Systems markets in Michigan
  • Maritime markets in Michigan
  • Cyber Security markets in Michigan
  • Michigan’s Defense Industry and Assets Briefing
  • SBIR/STTR and DARPA Opportunities
  • Robotics Industry in Michigan
  • Cyber Matchmaking
  • Aerospace Matchmaking
  • BTS Preview

The 2013 mission was to transform the Michigan Defense Center into an effective and responsive resource by building a center of gravity and creating an infrastructure through strengthening key partnerships, building innovative tools and improving communication.  The success of this past year has prepared the field for the 2014 goals of assisting Michigan companies and creating Defense/Homeland Security jobs in the Michigan economy.

We are Mission Focused, Michigan Made and ready for the future.

Sean Carlson

Executive Director

Michigan Defense Center