The Michigan Defense Center | Arsenal of Innovation

From the Executive Director Vicki Selva – April 2020


Dismay, anxiety, flexibility, sorrow, fear. Out of limitation comes creativity. Out of solitude can come reflection…it’s been quite a month, for everyone on earth, including you and I. But, this will end and we will get back to something that feels normal, and we will get back to our work and our colleagues and we will talk about it for a lifetime, but, we will move forward.

In this time of uncertainty and unparalleled need for businesses and individuals, Michigan is taking the lead. We are focusing this edition on providing you information you need now on the grants and loans offered through the Covid-19 Response Programs ordered by Governor Whitmer for Michigan Businesses. You will also find information from the Federal Office of Management and Budget which lays out possible provisions, contacts and guidelines that federal agencies can apply to federal contractors.

As the state of Michigan’s defense office, the Michigan Defense Center has developed various programs to clear some of the obstacles that you run into in pursuit of defense, defense aerospace and homeland security contracts.

  • Want to know what a contracting officer or supply chain manager sees about your company when deciding who gets the next contract? Need help finding the right federal contract to bid on? Check out the Bid Targeting System, a free online tool to help you, available only to Michigan companies.
  • Can’t afford a professional proposal writer? Visit the link for the Proposal Writing Services Grant program, funded and administered by the Michigan Defense Center to help you get that contract.
  • Check out the all new Michigan Defense Center Online Resource Guide. Whether you are a seasoned contractor or trying to figure out how to get started, you will find answers and valuable contacts in the most comprehensive online defense resource guide in the nation.

In future editions we will share all kinds of information, events, networks and resources that the Michigan Defense Center has developed to help you navigate the federal contracting landscape. We are looking forward to informing you about how the MDC works on behalf of the state of Michigan and you to increase this important sector of our economy and Protect and Grow our missions and industry!

Michigan has always led the way in dire times. As I write, Ford, GM and other Michigan companies are galvanized in modifying designs and assembly lines to create ventilator parts and masks. Michigan fabric suppliers and defense contractors are turning their talents toward the emergency sweeping the country. And, Michigan receives an “A” in a study that used our cell phone data to prove that Michiganders are, for the majority, staying home and staying safe which will hopefully lead to a decrease in infection and a swifter end to this international nightmare. As we did during WWII, Michigan is standing up and marching forward to meet the needs of our nation.

I’m proud to be an American, proud to be a Michigander and proud to be able to provide you with resources that will help you and your business recover.

Please feel free to leave a comment to let us know your challenges and successes in defense!

Vicki Selva
Executive Director
Michigan Defense Center

For comments, please email

Next Generation Computing Power

Next Generation Computing Power

RAVE Computer in Sterling Heights, Michigan is rated best in the industry because of their training and innovative learning.  RAVE’s cutting-edge product development department has its own engineering lab where masterful computer technology solutions are configured in new, innovative ways.  In addition, product engineers have a focus on innovation, creating unique systems that are consistently smaller, lighter, faster and optimized for high performance.

This is the reason that RAVE was invited by the Michigan Defense Center to showcase their company and innovation to the Michigan Congressional Delegation in Washington DC recently.

“RAVE is exactly the type of forward leaning, cutting-edge company that is meeting the emerging needs of the Department of Defense and other federal agencies.  The Michigan Defense Center is proud to offer Michigan companies like RAVE opportunities to highlight their capabilities to Congressional, Department of Defense and Industry leaders whenever possible.” said, Vicki Selva, Deputy Director for the Michigan Defense Center.

Rick Darter, CEO of RAVE commented, “I was pleasantly surprised by the number of Congressional Members who attended and their awareness and commitment to Michigan’s Defense Industry.  This, in contrast to even a few years ago, when the goal was to simply create awareness of the industry. Kudo’s to the Michigan Defense Center for hosting this quality event.  I would certainly support this effort again in the future.”

Founded in 1988, RAVE Computer is a technology consultant and computer manufacturer providing Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) and custom engineered solutions optimized to specific customer requirements.  RAVE builds and modifies standard computer systems to develop fully custom integration solutions, supports military’s Modeling, Simulation and Training, and C4ISR and Rugged real world missions.

In June of 2017 RAVE was named the 2017 Partner of the Year by Intel Corporation for its innovation of the Mobilbeast VR computer.  RAVE won in the PC Client Platform category.

CEO Rick Darter is an important member of the defense community. As a Director of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), Rick chairs the chapter’s STEM program, sponsors and supports the Michigan Defense Expo (MDEX) and takes a leadership role in conferences and promotion of the emerging Modeling and Simulation markets and industry.

Pictured in the image above: Jake Tatel, Director of OSC Americas – Intel; Greg Baur, VP SMG & Regional Sales, GM Americas – Intel; Sara Blackmer, Vice President / General Manager – RAVE Computer; Karl Rosenberger, Director of Prod. Development – RAVE Computer; Ricardo Moreno, VP – SMG, WW Programs – Intel; Rick Darter, CEO & President – RAVE Computer.

To learn more about RAVE Computer:

WID Horizon Award

WID Horizon Award

The 2017 Women In Defense (WID) Horizon Award was awarded to Michigan Defense Center Deputy Executive Director Vicki Selva for her unrelenting work to protect and grow Michigan’s defense industry, assets and community.

Michigan Defense Center Executive Director Sean Carlson nominated Vicki by saying, “There is no man or woman in the defense industry over the last 15 years that has had a bigger impact on the Defense Industry across Michigan.  There have been great leaders who represent Michigan defense contractors, key state and Congressional leaders to sponsor and fund major defense initiatives.  We also have key and important small business leaders that are in the trenches creating defense jobs in Michigan.  But there is only one person, that I know, that intersects with all of those key leaders to make a meaningful impact in the defense industry and that person happens to be a woman named Vicki Selva”

For over 25 years, Vicki has worked closely with National and global companies GM, Ford, Chrysler and DoD Prime Contractors, hundreds of small Michigan businesses, as well as local and state government officials to communicate their needs and message leading to millions of dollars in grant and appropriation awards, contracts and successful partnerships.  When asked about Vicki’s benefit to the Michigan Defense Center, Sean said “Vicki’s leadership, focus, service before self and commitment to the defense industry has benefited not only the Michigan Defense Center, but also the NDIA, AUSA, and WID organizations.”

Lee Thomas, Fox 2 News, Vicky Rad, WID Pres., Vicki Selva, Karen Arondoski, IF Metalworks

“It is a great honor to be recognized by your colleagues.  This award is a confirmation of my work to advocate for the men and women who serve our nation and those in Michigan industry who go to work every day to make sure that our servicemen and women have the best protection and tools in the world.” said the Awardee.



About Vicki Selva

In 2013, Vicki Selva was named Deputy Executive Director for the Michigan Defense Center, an operation of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the State of Michigan’s economic development agency.

As an architect of the State of Michigan’s “Protect and Grow Initiative; a defense economic strategy”, Selva has changed the way Michigan supports the state’s defense assets, industries and communities. Selva and MDC Director Carlson manage this initiative along with dozens of economic development projects contributing to Michigan success in the defense sector.

During her many years as a recognized business and community leader and her nearly decade of service as Regional Director and Campaign Manager to U.S. Senator and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman, Carl Levin, Vicki Selva built important relationships and connections with Michigan’s business and defense Communities.

Vicki has been Advisor to the National Defense Industry Association-Michigan Board of Directors as well has served as NDIA’s Communication Director.  Selva also volunteers as a Michigan Defense Expo Planner, Communications Chair and Sponsorship Director and is a Mentor with the Women in Defense Association and is a member of the Association of U.S. Army.

About the Award

The networking and professional development organization presented the Horizon Industry Awards at its ninth annual event at the Royal Park Hotel.  Women In Defense Michigan established the Horizon Industry Awards to recognize defense and national security professionals who distinguish themselves in their field and help their organizations achieve critical business objectives and goals.  Crain’s Detroit Busines s has been an avid supporter and sponsored the awards each year.

Technology Grows in Grand Rapids

Technology Grows in Grand Rapids

DornerWorks, Ltd, based in Grand Rapids Michigan, is a premier provider of Embedded Software Development, Electronic Hardware Development, FPGA / ASIC, Custom Logic Engineering Requirements Definition, Electronic System Architecture Design Verification, and Validation Flight Certification Designs.  They are ranked in the top 20% of embedded development team sizes in the US.

David Dorner started DornerWorks in early 2000 to provide electronics engineering expertise to businesses in need of reliability in both design and service in aerospace, defense, medical, automotive, and industrial markets.  In only 17 years, DornerWorks has grown into one of the largest embedded engineering design services firms in the country with AS9100, ISO 13485, and ISO 9001 certifications.

As a proven leader in Michigan’s high tech business community, in 2016, the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) awarded a $200,000 high-tech grant, administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to DornerWorks, Ltd. that will bring 25 new high-tech jobs and $1.3 million in new investment to Grand Rapids over the next three years.

DornerWorks was one of 12 Michigan companies selected to attend the Michigan Defense Center Arsenal of Innovation Breakfast in Washington D.C. this month.  Dr. Gregg Wildes, Business Development Manager of DornerWorks represented his company.  “We appreciate MDC inviting DornerWorks to participate in the recent Congressional Breakfast in DC.  As an innovative small business, we are passionate about continuing Michigan’s leadership as the Arsenal of Innovation”.


“DornerWorks is an established and growing Michigan company offering outstanding product and engineering services to the aerospace and defense industries.  We were pleased that they could be part of the Michigan business delegation who traveled to D.C. to showcase their innovation to our government leaders and global industry partners like General Dynamics and BAE Systems.” Said Michigan Defense Center Executive Director Sean Carlson.

To learn more about Dornerworks:

NIST SP 800-171 Deadline …. Are you ready?

By Sarah Tennant, MEDC/MDC Strategic Advisor – Cyber Initiatives

Nearly 4,000 Michigan businesses are currently serving the defense industry and Michigan meets 73% of its defense sector demand locally. But, that could change if your company is not meeting the new NIST compliance requirements.

DFARS (Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement) regulations require that all DoD Suppliers implement NIST Special Publication 800-171 controls by December 31st, 2017. This mandate is not only critical to supporting U.S. Government missions but also ensuring the security of your intellectual property. 70% of everything a soldier shoots, drives, flies, wears, eats or communicates with is contracted from Michigan. A security or cybersecurity breach in this supply chain, can directly affect our soldiers ability to protect our nation.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) published in 2016 a new Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) provision and two clauses covering the safeguarding of contractor networks. The final DoD clauses are DFARS 252.204-7008, “Compliance with Safeguarding Covered Defense Information Controls,” and DFARS 252.204-7012, “Safeguarding Covered Defense Information and Cyber Incident Reporting.” To comply with the rule, contractors must meet the standards set forth in the National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-171 (NIST SP 800-171) On Sept. 21, 2017, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense provided guidance to DoD acquisition personnel concerning implementation of the NIST SP 800-171 standards

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released Special Publication 800-171. The document covers the protection of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) in Nonfederal Information Systems and Organizations.

The document was designed to provide guidance on ensuring that all systems that process, store, or transmit CUI information are secured and hardened. Compliance to the 800-171 standard is enforced by a set of technical policies. NIST SP 800-171 outlines those policies. A deadline to comply or to report delays in compliance has been set for December 31, 2017.

The Michigan Defense Center and MEDC wants your company to be prepared. Please check out the resources below to find out more about these compliance requirements and find assistance if necessary.

Local information Sessions on this topic:

Contact our partners at Michigan Manufacturing Technology Centers for more information and scheduled informational events. Your local PTAC may also have information to get to you a resource.


Eurosatory 2018–Offshore Opportunities Abound

By Jeanne Broad, International Trade Development Manager
Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Many Michigan defense contractors that are now focused on the US market may be well-positioned to sell their products and services internationally.  In fact, the US Government promotes foreign military sales (FMS) as a national security strategy to promote regional collaboration and build international partnerships.

Although foreign military sales can be complex, there is strong interest for US products, technology and services in many overseas markets, and there are a variety of resources available to help companies that wish to explore overseas opportunities.

The Michigan Defense Center is partnering with the MEDC Trade Team to help Michigan companies identify potential defense export opportunities or expand their current defense exports.

MDC and MEDC will be collaborating on a Michigan booth at the EUROSATORY 2018 Defense & Security International Exhibition, to be held in Paris, France June 11-15, 2018.  Eight Michigan companies will have the opportunity to exhibit at the booth, and others are encouraged to join the mission to walk the show and participate in match-making meetings with potential distributors, customers and partners.

Eurosatory is one of the world’s leading defense shows, featuring all products on the air and land defense and security supply chains, from basic parts to finished products and operational systems.  The show is organized by the French Ministry of Defense and the French aerospace industry association and attracts exhibitors from over 50 countries and over 60,000 visitors.

Without doubt, the opportunities for international defense sales are continuing to grow.  In 2016 World military spending increased to $1.69 trillion representing 2.2% of global GDP.  This represented a 0.4 percent increase from 2015, spurred in part by the first increase in North American spending since 2010, as well as increases in Western Europe.  Spending continues to grow in Asia and Oceania, Central and Easter Europe and North Africa, while spending fell in Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, South America and sub-Saharan Africa.  Feared aggression from Russia, China and North Korea, combined with increased conflict in the Middle East and global terrorism, are expected to drive defense spending, leading to global market opportunities for US defense exporters.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the aerospace sector comprised over half of total US military exports from 2013 through 2015.  Leading exports included military aircraft parts; tanks, artillery, missiles, rockets, guns and ammunition;  and military aircraft exports.  Demand for US military parts, light attack and surveillance aircraft, and tanks, artillery, missiles, rockets, guns and ammunition is expected to continue over the next decade, along with demand for maritime patrol aircraft.

It is also worth noting that many technologies developed for use in the air are now being deployed on land vehicles and movement towards connectivity and autonomous vehicles is critical in the defense as well as the commercial sector.  This creates opportunities for Michigan companies, many of which are leaders in these technologies.

For companies interested in defense exports and/or Eurosatory, please contact Jeanne Broad at MEDC ( to attend a briefing on “Opportunities for Michigan Defense Exports.”  The program will provide an overview of defense export opportunities, information about the Eurosatory mission–including tips to get the most out of participation, and an introduction to the Michigan services available to support defense exports and export preparedness.

Wednesday, January 24, 8:30-10:30
Michigan Defense Center at Velocity
6633 18 Mile Rd., Sterling Heights 48314
Contact to attend:

The program will also be offered in Grand Rapids at a date to be announced.

Find out more

The “New” Army; How Innovation Will Transform Future Warfare An Interview with Dr. Paul Rogers, Director Army TARDEC

The “New” Army; How Innovation Will Transform Future Warfare An Interview with Dr. Paul Rogers, Director Army TARDEC

By Vicki Selva, Deputy Director Michigan Defense Center

As we always say at the Michigan Defense Center; “Since WWII, the enemy has changed, the battlefield has changed, but, one thing that hasn’t changed is that the Department of Defense continues to look to Michigan for solutions for its needs.”

Yes, it’s because of our industry and manufacturing prowess here. It’s because of our automotive capabilities here. We know how to build stuff. But, with increasing recognition, we also engineer, innovate, research, develop and test stuff—cutting edge, technological,  “new” stuff—and those innovations are making the men and women that wear our nation’s uniform more protected, prepared and lethal.

Much of the credit for this innovation goes to the symbiotic relationship between the U.S. Army and Michigan’s industry. This connection has been fostered in Warren Michigan since the 1946 Keller Report recommended after the “big” War that the Army’s research and development lab be located in the heart of America’s industrial capital—SE Michigan. The industry titans of the time rightly recognized that leveraging public and private intelligence, expertise and funding would keep our military leaning forward, and it has done just that, successfully for 75 years.

We’d like to introduce you to Dr. Paul Rogers, who, for the last 6 years has expertly guided that lab, Army TARDEC (Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center) as the Director. In this capacity, Dr. Rogers has developed and manages the lab’s 30 year plan and guides its multitude of industry partnerships and agreements.

We asked Dr. Rogers to share with you his vision for the future of the U.S. Army, the advantages of doing defense business in Michigan and how you can engage with the U.S. Army.

Q: Dr. Rogers, please tell us about TARDEC’s mission and how you leverage private industry to provide service to the U.S. Army.

A:  Vicki, thank you for taking the time with TARDEC. We appreciate our relationship with the State of Michigan, MEDC’s Michigan’s Defense Center and the support of the integration of ground vehicle technologies for the Warfighter. We look forward to working more with the State and the region in the future.  At TARDEC, our goal and our passion is in being that bridge between the development of the latest technologies with the vehicles our Warfighters use to complete their missions and get home safely.  We rely upon our industry colleagues, to include our partners in Michigan’s government, to help us achieve this goal.  In a very important way, that’s why we’re here in Southeast Michigan to begin with.  The latest automobile technologies, from powertrain development to driverless vehicles, are at the forefront right here, both within the walls of our R&D center and with the automobile manufacturers and suppliers.  Our proximity and our relationships with these companies affords our engineers and scientists the access they need to the very latest technology advances in order to keep the Army’s vehicle fleet the most advanced in the world.

Q: 2018 TARDEC Industry Days is on the calendar for April 24-25 at the Macomb Community College (the same time and location as the Michigan Defense Expo). Please tell us about this event and why Michigan companies may want to attend.

A:  This is TARDEC’s primary means of relaying to industry what our needs and capability gaps are.  Our best partners, the ones with whom we work most frequently, are those who are well-versed in our mission, our technology development trajectory and where we think we’ll need partners in the foreseeable future.  Additionally, the Industry Days event gives our industry colleagues an opportunity to meet one-on-one with TARDEC leaders and engineers specific to our various technology R&D areas.  Industry Days is a great opportunity to members of industry to interact and network with other industry members, too.  We have always incubated valuable relationships with and among our industry counterparts at Industry Days, and we look forward to continuing this in April again, and we hope you’ll share more about this in the next newsletter.

Q: What are the most needed technologies in the Army today? In the next 10 years?

A:  The Army regularly takes a look at the missions our Soldiers are asked to do and assesses what capabilities our equipment, including our vehicles, need in order to facilitate those missions.  This is a requirements-based approach that our vehicle experts at TARDEC inform on the current state of the technology and where that technology may be in the next 5, 10, 20 years and beyond.  The technologies we’re working to develop in order to expand the capabilities of our warfighters in a lot of ways parallel what our commercial counterparts are doing in the auto industry.  Automation holds a lot of promise for expanding what our Soldiers can do while significantly increasing the standoff distance between them and the enemy.  Improved engines and powertrains can propel our vehicles faster and with more agility while powering the advanced electronics that are becoming increasingly ubiquitous.  And we’re always taking advantage of the latest technologies to make our vehicles and the Soldiers they serve more survivable and resilient.

Q: TARDEC strives to do business with innovative companies. What types of capabilities are in high demand by your agency?

A: At TARDEC, when its focused toward the capabilities that help the Warfighters to do their missions and bringing them home safely, nothing is more highly regarded than innovative approaches, creativity and effectiveness.  More tangibly, we work most effectively with collaborative partners who approach us with a solution to an articulated need or capability gap.  If we’ve talked about a technology, capability or innovative need and you’re calling up our External Business Office with a solution, those are the calls we love to get.

Q: How can a Michigan company get their foot in the door at TARDEC?

A: The absolute best way to start a relationship with TARDEC is through understanding the direction in which the Army is looking to travel with vehicle technology and synergizing, or finding where your capabilities are best aligned, with that direction.  Our External Business Office was developed with this in mind, and works to tell the TARDEC story and express our needs as best as we can.  Our annual Industry Days event is one such example.  TARDEC’s technology leaders take these days to outline what capabilities and technologies we need developed the most.  Rather than bringing a catalog of technologies and developments to a TARDEC engineer, knowing what the Army is looking to accomplish can help you target and tailor your conversation.

Q: Do you have any advice for companies who are interested in doing business with the U.S. Army?

A:  Aside from the things to look for before talking to our External Business Office, flexibility and adaptability is always important.  There are a lot of ways for companies to work with the government and TARDEC; we have traditional contracting methods, but we also have Other Transaction Agreements, which can be an expedited way of working with us on a broad range of projects.  We have cooperative research agreements, too, and other methods depending on the program.  Our External Business Office is specialized in working with our collaborative partners to find the most appropriate of these channels. (reach them through this link)

Q: Please tell us about some of the cooperative projects TARDEC is engaged in with the automotive industry.

A:  Our synergy with the automotive industry is a key component to advancing Army vehicle capability.  Our cooperative projects with the industry range from individual technologies to complex capabilities.  Recently, a few of our more heavily highlighted success stories advanced our understanding of Hydrogen Fuel Cells, an advanced opposed-cylinder engine that’s targeted for the first Next Generation Combat Vehicle experimental prototypes and, in many of the component technologies, the leader-follower work we’ve been doing.  All of these projects are conducted with partners through different contracting or relationship mechanisms.

Q: TARDEC recently held an autonomous border crossing at the Blue Water Bridge to Canada. The Michigan Defense Center was proud to be able to work with your team to provide $500,000 of state funding for this project. Please tell us about the objectives that were reached and how these types of  projects further America’s national security.

A:  We’re very proud of the work our engineers and project leaders did with our Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System the last couple of years, culminating most recently in the Leader-Follower demonstration across the Blue Water Bridge in October.  The massive potential that leader-follower technology holds, both to the greatly expanded mission capacity of our Warfighters and to their safety and security make the advancement of this capability a passion of ours.  We look to driver-optional features to enhance the safety of our drivers through things like lane departure warnings and proximity warnings in traffic.  Additionally, fully-autonomous capabilities may allow us to move Soldiers from the vehicle cabs.  The data we collected during the demonstration there and along Interstate 69 informs our systems’ programming while guiding our path for future development.

Thank you Dr. Rogers and team for taking time out of your busy day to discuss your mission with Michigan.

To read more about how Michigan and TARDEC are working together to strengthen and leverage the assets in Michigan, check out the article; “The Arsenal of Innovation” in DBusiness Magazine

To watch a video about autonomous vehicle work at TARDEC and the groundbreaking Blue Water Bridge crossing event, CLICK HERE.  

Coordinating and Partnering: the Secret to Success

Coordinating and Partnering: the Secret to Success

Selfridge’s Future

The Michigan Air National Guard will celebrate monumental anniversaries this year and the best way to honor the past is to secure the future. The Michigan Defense Center/MEDC will be supporting both the past and future as the Selfridge and Battle Creek facilities fly through the century mark.

There have been exciting developments for the future of these important Michigan assets thanks to the vision and efforts of Adjutant General Gregory Vadnais, the Governor’s office and the Michigan Defense Center/MEDC. The Protect and Grow Initiative has been providing resources and support to secure the future of both bases. Read about the F-35 mission here!

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the state from Selfridge, Battle Creek ANG Base has also gained a foothold on the future. In 2016 the 110th Attack Wing was awarded a brand new Cyber Protection Team, a team of cyber experts dedicated to the security of the nation’s cyber system.

Battle Creek makes perfect sense to house one of the new cyber operations squadrons,” said Col. Bryan Teff, commander of BCANG. “The recruiting base we have here in Battle Creek, coupled with the robust cyber-capabilities already in place will allow us to easily expand those capabilities to accommodate an entire squadron.  The Wing represents relevant and future growth mission areas within the USAF supporting Command and Control (C2), Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations, and now Cyber operations.”

Ft. Custer Army National Guard facility has been designated as two possible sites out of the top four selected locations for the nation’s Missile Defense System sought by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and legislated by Congress. If President Trump gives the go ahead and the Congress appropriates the funds, Michigan is well positioned to receive this important mission that could bring  hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars of economic impact to the state. The Michigan Defense Center and MEDC is supporting this effort by providing funding for advisory and advocacy activities on this game-changing mission.

Make sure to mark your calendars for big celebrations this summer!

Ft. Custer and Battle Creek National Guard Installations celebrate with Museum openings and the Balloon and Air Show

Selfridge will mark their 100th anniversary with an Open House and an incomparable air show featuring the Thunderbirds and hundreds of static and interactive displays and events.  Click here for more information on these August events!


The Defense Industry on Display

Industry and Military showed off their capabilities and products at the 8th Annual Michigan Defense Expo (MDEX) held at the Macomb Community College Warren Campus in April. Coinciding with MDEX, the Army Tank Armament Research, Development, Engineering Center (TARDEC) Industry Days was also held at the college and provided a convenient stop for industry, buyers, and decision makers to see what’s going on in Michigan’s defense world.

MDEX featured 120 exhibitors, 2 days of informative panels and speaker presentations which included a Michigan Mobility panel and exhibit which featured automotive and military crossover and autonomous technologies sponsored by Michigan Defense Center/MEDC and an aerospace pavilion showcasing Michigan’s growing strength in this emerging market.

“MDEX has grown in recent years into a premier Midwest military show attracting local, national and global companies to show off their capabilities to the federal buyers and decision-makers and to network and explore partnerships.” Said Vicki Selva, Michigan Defense Center Deputy Executive Director and MDEX Communications Director and Planner. “MDEX, TARDEC Industry Days, AUSA’s Annual Breakfast and the associated events and discussions that surround this event are synergistic and a great opportunity for businesses, government and the community to meet and do business.”

Featured speakers included Michigan Lt. Governor Calley, Kevin Fahey, Retired SES and former Director Systems Engineering and Integration office of the Asst. Secretary of the Army (ALT) and Ann Cataldo, Deputy Asst. Secretary of the Army Defense Exports and Cooperation ASA.

These events drew over 2000 attendees including defense industry delegations from Israel and Singapore.


Michigan’s Emerging Leadership in Platform Cybersecurity

The Michigan Defense Center and MEDC was a proud sponsor of the 2nd Annual NDIA Cybersecurity: Defense Sector Summit, held at the Troy Marriot on March 7th and 8th.  More than 100 industry and government attendees spent two days networking and listening to national experts speak about the impact of cybersecurity on defense vehicles and weapon systems now and into the future.

Featured speakers included Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, who was awarded for his support of the Michigan defense industry, and the evolving impact cybersecurity has to both the commercial and defense vehicle industries.

Speakers included Peter Singer, a Strategist at New America, editor at Popular Science Magazine as well as the author of Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know. Mr. Singer gave attendees a look beyond the cyber horizon.  Dr. David Gorsich, Lead Scientist at U.S. Army TARDEC in Warren, shared Army initiatives in vehicle Cybersecurity and Michigan National Guard Brigadier General Michael Stone, who is driving cyber in Michigan’s network of National Guard bases, discussed cyber as the fifth domain of warfare.  Betsy Freeman, retired DoD Deputy Chief Information Officer, discussed the extensive collaboration between state, government, and industry.  In describing the lag between cybersecurity need and commitment to solutions, Ms. Freeman said, “It’s time to stop dating and get married”. 

Informative panel discussions filled day two as well.  During their “Removing Roadblocks so Industry and Government Can Be More Agile” panel, Daniel B. Prieto, Retired Director of Cybersecurity National Security Council and Betsy Freeman, now VP of Regional Operations at Ascolta, LLC, shared valuable lessons learned from the 2015 breach of the federal Office of Personnel Management which exposed the personal information of 21.5 million records of current and former federal employees. William Botkey, Information Security Officer and Privacy Lead at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Peter Stang, Security Director at General Dynamics Land Systems, and Christopher Stolkey, Procurement Manager at BAE, discussed supply chain security across public and private sectors and the new National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) federal cybersecurity compliance regulations coming online December 31, 2017.  Jennifer Tisdale, Cyber Mobility Program Manager at MEDC’s Michigan Defense Center, led a panel titled, “Security of Autonomous Connectivity”.  Panelists included Fracois Bernier, Defense Scientist at Defense Research and Development Canada, Bryson Bort, Founder and CEO of Grimm, and Andrew Smart, Chief Technical Officer at American Center for Mobility. The panel shared their vision of the future of cybersecurity in the automotive sector and how it will effect defense vehicles.

Protect and Grow: Michigan’s Future in Defense

Protect and Grow: Michigan’s Future in Defense

“Protect and Grow” developed and lead by the MEDC’s Michigan Defense Center is the state’s strategic plan to protect the many military assets and missions here in the state while growing the industry and potential for new missions.

In June 2016, The Michigan Defense Center introduced the plan to much fanfare at the Mackinac Policy Conference, the first time defense interests have been recognized in this important public and government forum.

The Protect and Grow Initiative has provided a common set of facts and goals that has coordinated local, state and federal stakeholders and leaders to invest funds and effort into this important sector that employs 108,000 Michiganders and pours over $10 Billion into our state economy.

In fact, the Michigan legislature has proudly supported the defense assets in our state and showed their interest in investing in Michigan’s share of national security by putting $3 million into the FY17 state budget to accomplish the objectives outlined in the plan. The MDC is honoring this show of support by leveraging these funds to gain other federal and local grants to turn the $3 million dollar investment to $5 million to protect and grow this sector. All of these funds are used to move the P&G recommendations forward, none of this funding is used for operational costs.

Check out the first year status report!

To download this report Click Here!

Protect and Grow: Mackinac Policy Conference 2017

Protect and Grow: Mackinac Policy Conference 2017

The Mackinac Policy Conference (MPC), hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber, is the annual premier forum that brings state and federal leaders together to discuss important statewide topics that effect the economy and the quality of life for Michiganders.

Through Michigan Defense Center partnerships with the Detroit Regional Chamber on military issues, the Mackinac Policy Conference has become a showcase for the defense assets in Michigan and a recurring opportunity for the Michigan Defense Center to continue the conversation to “Protect and Grow” (P&G) the defense economy.

MPC 2017 highlighted several of the Michigan Defense Center’s Protect and Grow Initiatives. Through the state’s investment in the plan’s recommendations, the Defense Center has funded advocacy, advisory and research activities to the National Guard and Macomb County to secure the F-35 mission at Selfridge International Guard Base.

The Air Force has selected 5 Guard bases around the country based on capabilities and economic factors. 2 Bases will receive a new mission—the F-35 fighter planes. The F-35 mission will not only grow the industry and maintenance services in Michigan, but, it will also provide new training missions state-wide and secure Selfridge’s future into the next generation.

A press conference on the porch of the Grand Hotel at the 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference featuring U.S. Senator Gary Peters, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Selfridge Commanding General Slocum and Lt. Governor Brian Calley let the world know that Southeast Michigan is ready–with the facts– to fight for this important mission of the future. See more information about the F-35 and Selfridge at!

Also on display at the 2017 MPC was another P&G recommendation; establishing an autonomous vehicle corridor along I-69.

The commercial auto industry’s interest in producing viable autonomous platforms is well known. Less talked about is the Department of Defense’s equally robust effort. Autonomous platforms extend the reach of defense activities and saves the lives of personnel, most in danger when transporting supplies and needs in danger zones. Where else does commercial and military research and development needs merge more closely than in Michigan?

The U.S. Army TARDEC is engaged in the research and development of autonomous technologies working with domestic and international partners here in Michigan. In order to test these innovations, the Army and the MEDC/Michigan Defense Center signed a CRADA (Cooperative Research and Development Agreement) at the 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference which allowed the Defense Center to invest $500,000. of state money, matching it to $1 million of federal funding to further autonomous platform development here in Michigan.

At this year’s Mackinac Policy Conference, the U.S Army continues its work with the state to reach the objectives of the Protect and Grow recommendations as it enters another partnership with the State of Michigan by signing a CRADA with the Michigan Department of Transportation. This new agreement will allow for further testing and evaluation of autonomous technologies on military vehicles along I-69 as well as the Blue Water Bridge.

Photo Left: Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow and Lt. Governor Brian Calley support the CRADA signing agreement between U.S. Army TARDEC Director Dr. Paul Rogers and MDOT Director Kirk Steudle

On June 1, the Michigan Defense Center and the Detroit Regional Chamber hosted a “closed door” congressional work session to discuss the missions at the Detroit Arsenal. Senator Stabenow, Congresswoman Dingell and Congressman Bergman joined Arsenal Commanding General Clark LeMasters, TARDEC Director Dr. Paul Rogers, Program Executive Officer Scott Davis, Detroit Regional Chamber COO Tammy Carnrike, Michigan Defense Center Executive Director Sean Carlson and Michigan Defense Center Deputy Executive Director Vicki Selva in this informative first in-a-series of discussions to strengthen congressional support and influence in military matters in the state of Michigan.