(Madison, WI – Milwaukee, WI) A new statewide advocacy group will focus on the unique needs of Wisconsin’s defense industry and its supply chain. The Wisconsin Defense Industry Council (WDIC) was formed in conjunction with Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) to strengthen and support Wisconsin’s defense industry through collaborative advocacy, information sharing and networking.
“Wisconsin is a major manufacturing state and thus critical to America’s national defense infrastructure,” explained George Whittier, CEO of Beloit-based Fairbanks Morse Defense. “Creating a group like WDIC is long overdue in order to give defense contractors and suppliers a unified voice on issues that impact national security.”
“There is an urgent need for stronger advocacy, cooperation and networking among Wisconsin’s defense industry,” said Bill Berrien, CEO of Pindel Global Precision in New Berlin. “There are critical issues hampering defense contractors that must be addressed, including an acute workforce shortage and lingering supply chain backlogs. WDIC will work with partners like WMC and MMAC to address those issues.”
Whittier will chair WDIC, while Berrien, a former Navy SEAL, will serve as vice chair.
According to a 2022 Department of Defense report, Wisconsin ranks 30th in total U.S. defense contract spending accounting for just 0.6 percent of total defense spending, or about $5B of the more than $800B defense budget. That number likely doesn’t include small- and medium-sized manufacturers within the defense industry supply chain.