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FY 2015 Defense Spending By State report now available for download.

DIA Technical Assistance

Economies do not become defense dependent overnight. Successful transition of a regional economy requires a long-term, collaborative effort from community and business leaders; local, state, and federal policy makers, and influencers; and the people who live and work in the region itself.

The first step in developing a response is to define the problem. To begin the process, OEA uses an “Organize, Plan, and Implement” approach.

The Organize, Plan, Implement process is not linear in practice.

Organize

Well-organized projects have the best outcomes. During this phase of the project (and of your grant application), regions must build a strong regional leadership team to engage the best in the community to support the transition. At this part of the process you should:

  • Identify your key leaders;
  • Develop a set of rules by which all involved agree will guide the effort;
  • Develop a strong Economic Adjustment Organization structure;
  • Define the geographical boundaries and assets of your affected regional economy;
  • Produce a comprehensive asset map and SWOT Analysis, so that you know your community’s vulnerabilities and unique competitive advantage.

The organize phase generally takes regions 8-10 months. In the past, OEA has funded a variety of strategies for communities facing defense industry adjustment including cluster development, entrepreneurial development, supply chain mapping and others.

For more information on organizing your economic adjustment strategy visit chapter 6 of the Local Official’s Guide to Defense Industry Adjustment.

Plan

Once you’re organized, it’s time to build a plan. The planning process builds on all the elements developed during the organizational phase. Successful planning is driven by collecting, analyzing and using all available data. This is also a good time to address any additional data collection needs. Planning efforts should address both short- and long-term needs. Additionally, engaging the community and getting “buy-in” will be crucial for success. During planning, most grantees:

  • Develop a future vision and engage community;
  • Communicate that vision to internal stakeholders and the larger community;
  • Create a shorter-term plan for assistance to affected workers and businesses; and
  • Create a longer-term strategic plan to revitalize the economy.

For more information on organizing your economic adjustment strategy visit chapter 7 of the Local Official’s Guide to Defense Industry Adjustment. Additionally Appendix 7 provides examples to three common visioning approaches.

Implement

Implementing and sustaining the revitalization initiative over time and as conditions, needs and funding sources change, are key if the plan is not to merely “sit on a shelf.” During the implement phase, OEA can help organizations to address:

  • A long-term governance and management strategy
  • Follow-on funding and sustainability issues

For more information on organizing your economic adjustment strategy visit chapter 8 of the Local Official’s Guide to Defense Industry Adjustment.