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Levin: Defense Is A Growing Part Of MI’s Economy

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Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Dr. Ashton Carter, and US Senator Carl Levin at a Detroit Small Business Dedense Procurement Summit at Cobo Center. (WWJ Photo/Mike Campbell)

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Dr. Ashton Carter, and US Senator Carl Levin at a Detroit Small Business Dedense Procurement Summit at Cobo Center. (WWJ Photo/Mike Campbell)

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DETROIT (WWJ) - The U.S. Department of Defense is looking for a few good small businesses in Michigan to help with their demands.

Speaking at a Detroit Small Business Defense Procurement Summit at Cobo Center, U.S. Senator Carl Levin told WWJ there is opportunity for more businesses from Michigan to get in on the action.

“We’ve got hundreds of companies in Michigan that do defense work, and we want to continue to increase that number to make sure they know about opportunities in the defense area. It’s a growing part of Michigan’s economy,” Levin said.

Levin, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Southeast Michigan businesses are already ‘big’ in the defense niche.

“We’ve got Automation Alley out in Oakland and Macomb Counties which has a defense segment. We’ve got a major defense research and development operation out at the TARDEC, which is a tank and automotive commands research development center. We’ve got the National Automotive Center out there, and they do the design development of military vehicles,” Levin said.

A number of Michigan business are obviously interested in being a contractor with the government for military products and services. A few hundred people packed Cobo Center Ballrooms to listen and talk with Levin and Dr. Ashton Carter, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics.

Dr. Carter told the crowd, the Department of Defense will spend almost a quarter of its $400-billion budget with small business contractors this year.

“The defense budget isn’t going to be going up like it did for the ten years after 9-11, but the country’s going to stay in the National Security business,” Carter said. “It’s not going to go away. It’s a pretty safe area to specialize in.”

Dr. Carter said small businesses are often more competitive and that helps the Department of Defense meet the budget pressures on spending.

“We’re going to continue to have very significant demands on the defense budget, both from a dangerous world and from a budget situation, which is not going to continue to give us ever-larger defense budgets. We have to get better value for the defense dollar and small business is a necessary ingredient of getting a better deal for the defense dollar,” Carter said.

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