In Michigan, Defense and Homeland Security is a multi-billion dollar sector of Michigan’s economy, supports nearly 52,000 Michigan and is poised to grow exponentially, but, gets very little attention. The Michigan Defense Center, an operation of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is about to change the game with “Protect and Grow; A Michigan Defense and Homeland Security Economic Strategy”.

Never before has the state of Michigan undertaken a sustainable, comprehensive, state-wide strategic plan to:

  • Protect state and federal national security assets in Michigan
  • Grow federal assets in Michigan to boost the state’s economic opportunities for Michigan businesses in the defense and homeland security markets
  • Coordinate industry, academia, local and regional governments and associations in one mission: Protect and Grow Michigan’s Defense Economy

The Michigan Defense Center at MEDC leads the effort joined by the Michigan Department of Military Veteran Affairs, The Governor’s office and local and regional partners to:

  • Inventory the State’s assets including talent, capabilities, testing and lab facilities, etc.
  • Perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis
  • Analyze the findings—“red teaming”
  • Develop a strategy to protect the assets and pursue new missions and emerging markets that fit    Michigan’s capabilities
  • Recommend a long range execution plan and communication strategy to protect and grow Michigan’s national security sector

In January 2015, the Michigan Defense Center issued an RFP and formed a Joint Evaluation Committee, which selected the Matrix Design Group and their partners, the Roosevelt Group to reach the objectives of this initiative. Both firms are nationally recognized as leaders in defense and homeland security economic and national security strategies, advocacy, data gathering and analysis.

In one of the most exciting aspects of the initiative, the Protect and Grow Advisory Committee has been formed bringing together for the first time Michigan’s defense industry leaders, Michigan’s university system including R&D, engineering and supply chain management expertise, local and regional governmental partners and economic development organizations from around the state. This important committee advises the activities and adds valuable insight into the unique defense environment in Michigan that includes research and development, production, engineering and integration.

The Executive Council for the initiative includes, Michigan’s Lt. Governor Calley, Budget Director Roberts, Adjutant General Vadnais, MEDC’s CEO Arwood. The Governance Board is comprised of executives from Battle Creek Unlimited, Detroit Regional Chamber, Marquette Economic Development, Macomb County Economic Development and other state officials ensuring statewide representation.

MEDC VP and Michigan Defense Center Director Sean Carlson and Executive Consultant Vicki Selva,  direct and oversee the initiative.

“This is an important undertaking for Michigan. The need to understand and protect the assets and industry we currently have in Michigan is paramount to sustainability of this sector of the economy, but, also to the men and women of the Armed Services that depend on the products and services Michigan businesses provide to them. By developing a strategy to protect what is already flourishing in Michigan, we can grow the current mission sets like engineering, ground vehicles and the crossover technologies with the U.S. automotive industries while also looking toward emerging markets like autonomous vehicles, cyber security and unmanned aerial systems; all fit within the symbiotic relationships already in Michigan.” according to Sean Carlson, MEDC VP.

It is expected that Matrix Design Group will begin delivering actionable items to the state right away and complete this contract by early spring 2016.

Contact:  for more information.