Industry Resilience Strategies

A changing defense landscape may result in manufacturers and contractors facing difficult decisions regarding their defense programs. The U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) has identified five industry resilience strategies to help bolster defense programs through the development of action-oriented solutions.


entrepreneurship and small business development

Entrepreneurship initiatives can lead to the development of new businesses and help drive economic growth. Incorporating local entrepreneurship initiatives and business acceleration programs can be an effective strategy for communities to embrace as part of their approach to defense transitions.

export promotion

Identifying new markets is crucial for defense firms who are building their resilience programs. In the current landscape, firms need to go beyond their local marketplace and think globally. Developing a strong export promotion program will allow for firms to branch out and gain a better understanding of how to obtain the new business necessary to continue successful operations and capture new markets.

industry cluster development

As OEA describes, industry clusters refer to “regional concentration(s) of related industries in a particular location…They consist of companies, suppliers, and service providers, as well as government agencies and other institutions that provide specialized training and education, information, research, and technical support.”

Clusters have been used widely in the US and overseas for the last decade and have proven to be an effective economic development strategy. If firms have not implemented the use of clusters, this strategy may be a helpful approach to explore in your community.

manufacturing and supply chain mapping

Access to supply chain maps can open the door to many possibilities for growth and opportunities for firms and communities to be competitive in Illinois. The IDN partners have access to the Supply Chain Mapping Tool, an online platform created by the Voorhees Center, which provide users with real-time data for an informed perspective of the federal military’s manufacturing and supply chain in this part of the country, and helps quantify the effect of Department of Defense changes, expansions and cutbacks in these regions.

enhancing workforce development

There is a critical need for employees to gain the skills and competencies necessary to fill present and future manufacturing roles. It’s important to identify the unique needs of your community based on industry and regional economy. By working with stakeholders to create a strong workforce development program and talent pipeline, your community will benefit economically and increase workforce quality while improving your ability to adjust to the changing landscape.