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

FourFront Manufacturing


Regional Background

Colorado is home to a considerable defense industrial base, with Bloomberg data from 2012 suggesting that Federal defense spending comprises more than 4.3 percent of the state GDP. The defense industry is both a significant contributor to total state output and wages as well as a critical component of the state’s workforce and innovation system. A state- funded analysis demonstrated on a macro level that DoD is the largest common-purchaser of products from the eight industry groups at the core of Colorado’s advanced industries manufacturing base.

Project Overview

DoD’s Office of Economic Adjustment issued a Defense Industry Adjustment grant to the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). The project encompasses a variety of activities at the state and local level in order to address a statewide-response in defense procurement fluctuations. The grant consists of several project components, including:

  • Development of an executive committee and governance structure consisting of leadership from industry, academia, and government;
  • Establishment of a Digital Manufacturing Engagement plan including a working group and seminar to connect small and mid-size firms with the digital lab and its resources;
  • Work with community colleges and universities to develop curricula for the workforce of tomorrow.
  • Create Manufacturing Advancement Centers (MACs) that will convene in each region to develop a local strategy;
  • Develop a supply chain map of existing Colorado A&D companies and capabilities;
  • Develop a Defense Diversification Study for each region to plan the needs and opportunities unique to that region;
  • Establish Manufacturing Advancement Centers to offer core services including supply chain development, commercial research support, and workforce training opportunities.

Projected Outcomes

The objective of these efforts is to develop a statewide response to fluctuations in defense procurement. Colorado’s role will be to act as coordinator to analyze defense supply chains across the state’s regional economies while convening the state’s jurisdictions to develop a framework for defense-diversified economic development strategies. After completing the steps outlined above, Colorado jurisdictions will be responsible for aligning their regional economic and manufacturing base development strategies based on recommendations from the statewide effort.