Michigan Unveils Plan to Expand Defense Industry

Michigan officials on Thursday introduced a strategic plan to preserve and build the state’s $8 billion defense industry through a variety of initiatives aimed at leveraging its 7 military facilities for economic development and focusing on growth areas such as aerospace, advanced manufacturing and autonomous systems.

The Protect and Grow strategic plan was developed by the Michigan Defense Center in conjunction with the state Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the state’s congressional delegation.

“Michigan has been a leader in the defense sector for decades and the industry is a major contributor to our economy,” Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said in announcing the plan, according to a news release. “With our assets, our state is well positioned to grow new opportunities, and the Protect and Grow plan will allow us to proactively develop this important business sector.”

MEDC and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center leadership took the first step in implementing the plan by signing a cooperative research and development agreement. The agreement defines planned collaboration between the two organizations, covering testing and evaluating autonomous defense vehicles on I-69, transportation cyber security and next generation alternative energy development.

The plan includes 17 recommendations to preserve current defense assets, missions and jobs, and foster innovation, including:

  • invest state resources to enhance military installations and defense and homeland security missions;
  • expand training ranges and opportunities;
  • maximize the congressional delegation’s influence and support for military installations;
  • pursue opportunities and branding to lead the nation in DOD and state-sponsored renewable energy solutions;
  • study impacts and military research and development tax incentives and best practices in other states; and
  • create new branding for the defense industry in Michigan.

Michigan is home to seven military facilities — Detroit Arsenal, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, Fort Custer, Defense Logistics Agency, Camp Grayling Joint Military Training Center and Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen
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