The importance of the military and defense sector to the state of Washington is clear; the sector provides tens of thousands of jobs and contributes billions of dollars to the state economy. What was not clear to state leaders is the extent to which Washington businesses are reliant on federal contracting and what planned reductions in defense spending would mean to individual businesses and to the state. To document the sector’s reach and help identify specific needs of defense contractors to transition or adapt to potential cuts, the Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce) applied for and was awarded a $4.3 million Defense Industry Adjustment grant from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA).
TIP Strategies was engaged to assist with multiple phases of the OEA grant. Over the course of this multi-year process, TIP helped formalize the Washington Military Alliance (WMA) and prepare an organizational strategy and communications plan for the WMA. As part of a pilot program specific to the defense services supply chain, TIP partnered with management consulting firm Kepner-Tregoe to design and test economic diversification strategies, outline best practices, and create a “resource roadmap.” Using results from these and other grant elements, TIP prepared the Washington State Military & Defense Playbook, which defined a strategic framework for the WMA and its partners to retain and strengthen the military and defense sector. To ensure the success of the strategy beyond the life of the OEA grant, TIP worked with Commerce to create a Sustainability Strategy designed to integrate the Playbook with existing local, state, and federal programs.