Federal spending on defense procurement had generally maintained a downward trajectory since 2008, the result of effects from the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the Great Recession. With the state of Massachusetts predicting impacts in excess of $20 billion dollars from further spending cuts anticipated to its defense sector at the time, officials secured a planning grant from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA).
As part of the OEA grant, MassDevelopment, the state’s economic development and finance authority, engaged a consulting team led by TIP Strategies to prepare a defense industry diversification study. The planning process was guided by the Defense Industry Strategic Steering Committee (DISSC), an advisory committee comprised of high-level representatives from prime defense contractors (including Raytheon, Triton Systems, and General Dynamics) and research institutions. In addition to diversification and commercialization strategies, the Defense Industry Diversification Study and Strategic Blueprint provided recommendations for expanding customers and markets; increasing available worker training; and leveraging Massachusetts’ world-class R&D, engineering, and advanced manufacturing capabilities. The team also created an online map of defense-related assets and resources. Upon completion of the strategy, MassDevelopment was awarded more than $3.6 million in implementation grants from OEA to launch and evaluate pilot initiatives identified by the planning process in areas including commercialization, diversification, technical assistance, and exporting.