The Department of Commerce, through the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) has developed a comprehensive assistance program for U.S. industry in response to the dramatic reduction of defense spending. This program, an important part of the Department's overall efforts in defense conversion, consists of four main areas: defense diversification seminars, a needs assessment program, international diversification market assessment guides and defense trade advocacy. The components of this strategy linked together provide a wide variety of short and long term assistance to address the immediate and emerging needs of the defense industrial base. Each program is briefly described in the sequence of addressing the short, medium and long-term needs of U.S. defense firms.
International Diversification and Defense Market Assessment Program: This program is structured to provide information that will address an immediate need to determine new markets for dual-use and defense products. In this way, the market assessment program offers current information to U.S. firms through the development of international diversification and defense market assessment guides. These guides provide a variety of information to U.S. manufacturers regarding non-traditional dual-use and defense markets in the Pacific Rim, Europe, the Middle East, and the Western Hemisphere. Each chapter within these guides offer comprehensive information on how to do business in targeted countries, as well as specific commercial and defense trade opportunities open to U.S. firms in these markets. These guides are designed for small U.S. businesses that are new to exporting. The market assessment program has been developed to help U.S. firms maintain revenue from alternative domestic or international markets which, in turn, will allow time to implement diversification or conversion programs.
Defense Trade Advocacy: The Bureau of Export Administration, with its strong historical relationships to both the Department of Defense and Department of State, is placed in an advantageous position to serve as an advocate for the U.S. defense industry in its efforts to successfully compete for overseas procurements. Within this role, BXA generates high level government-to-government advocacy on behalf of U.S. industry. The agency also serves as industry ombudsman in the interagency community, interjecting economic and competitiveness considerations as well as overall industry concerns into U.S. arms transfer determinations.
Defense Diversification Seminar Program: An integral part of the Commerce Department's national program, the diversification seminar series, while available to all firms, specifically targets small and medium size defense manufacturers. These seminars are designed to provide firms with the informational tools needed to take advantage of domestic as well as global business opportunities. Seminar topics areas include: technology transfer: accessing and commercializing federal R& federal, state and private sector financial assistance; international marketing assistance; marketing to the U.S. and state governments; and regulatory requirements for defense exports. The first seminar program, called the 1994 Resource Matching Program was held in California and due to its success, BXA has expanded this program to reach defense firms in all areas of the U.S. that have been adversely impacted by defense cuts. In FY95, the California program was expanded to include seminars held in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Oregon. Concurrently, the Bureau of Export Administration launch its Eastern regional seminar program in the Northeast where seminar programs were held in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. Other expansion sites in FY97 include, Texas, Missouri, and Alabama. This program is crafted and specialized to meet the unique requirements of each state. The seminar program provides the information necessary for U.S. firms to begin the development of an appropriate diversification or conversion strategy.
Needs Assessment Program: The Bureau of Export Administration's Needs Assessment Program entails a longer term focus by providing specialized, firm-specific diversification assistance. Within this program, firms are requested to complete a short questionnaire which assesses their current diversification efforts as well as determining what kinds of assistance would be most useful. An interagency response team has been assembled which will then work with individual firms, providing a coordinated response to individual firms' needs. The team includes representatives from various agencies within the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy's National Laboratories, the Export Import Bank, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Labor and various state agencies.
These four areas that make up the core of the Commerce Department's national defense conversion program can be effectively utilized by U.S. firms that are at virtually any phase of defense diversification or conversion. For additional information about these programs, please contact the following BXA office:
Office of Strategic Industries and Economic Security
U.S. Department of Commerce
Washington, D.C. 20230
Tel: (202) 482-4695
Fax: (202) 482-5650
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