2018-19 Annual Report


The 2018-19 Annual Report, published by the College of Business and Economic Development at The University of Southern Mississippi, tells stories of outstanding achievements made by our faculty, students, staff, donors, and alumni over the course of the academic year.



The United States Department of Defense (DoD), Office of Economic

Adjustment awarded The University of Southern Mississippi (USM)

a Phase I grant in 2016 to support national security technology

acceleration and economic diversification efforts for defense

contractor communities in Mississippi. Over the last three years, this

Mississippi Defense Diversification Initiative (MDDI), made up of the

College of Business and Economic Development and Trent Lott National

Center, developed three pilot models to aid regions whose economic

health is dependent on defense programs.

1. Goal: Incorporate defense community topics into the Master of

Science in Economic Development (MSED) program at Southern Miss.

Accomplishment: Launched in summer 2017, the Economic Development

for Defense Communities (ED 711) course educates economic developers

on how to help communities adapt to DoD program changes. The same

year, the MDDI supported USM efforts to launch a Hacking for Defense

(H4D) course that allows student groups to work on Department of

Defense (DoD)-provided problem sets. The current DoD provided problem

sets that are matched to the state’s military footprint, and the student

groups are interacting with military personnel stationed in Mississippi.

2. Goal: Provide economic diversification technical assistance for

Mississippi-based defense companies and communities.

Accomplishment: The MDDI team identified and targeted companies

likely to be innovative and technology-focused and built a network

of interrelated companies. The network is growing into a business

ecosystem capable of short- and long-term economic strategies that

advance the state’s opportunities. The network has now been expanded

to include supply chain companies, defense-dependent communities,

military installations and assets, and other defense stakeholders.

In addition, Governor Phil Bryant signed Executive Order 1401, recognizing

the need for the state to become more strategic and proactive with the

defense economy to protect, grow and diversify defense and national

security assets as an economic driver for the state. The Executive Order

created a task force to develop a statewide defense plan.

3. Goal: Create an online platform to build defense-related businessto-business

relationships and assist technology transfer and

commercialization of defense intellectual property.

Accomplishment: The team developed the MDDI website, launched

two social media platforms, and produced three videos for descriptive

communication in advancements of technology transfer and to provide

examples of partnership efforts that will continue after the OEA grant is

complete. Housed on the MDDI website are many resources to support

defense business, such as an entrepreneurial “playbook.”

Fall 2018, Southern Miss secured continued funding for Phase II,

outlining the following objectives:

• Objective 1 - Continue to incorporate defense diversification

assistance into the business development ecosystem and create

defense industry networks in Mississippi.

• Objective 2 - Continue to incorporate defense diversification into

the academic curriculum.

• Objective 3 - Develop a strategic plan for Mississippi’s Defense and

Homeland Security Economy to synchronize Mississippi’s existing

defense-related economic assets and programs in support of a

statewide defense plan for the governor.

• Objective 4 - Lead Mississippi’s MEP network in building a DFARS

Cybersecurity Requirement assistance tool for Mississippi companies.

MDDI continues to be recognized statewide as a champion for defense

diversification. The network of private sector companies, non-profits

and public-sector partners is continuing to grow.

At the 2019 International Homeland Defense and Security Summit in

March 2019, Governor Phil Bryant announced the Mississippi Defense

Strategic Plan.

Dr. Chad Miller, along with fellow

members of the Mississippi Defense

Initiative Task Force and the Governor,

at the Homeland Defense and Security

Summit in Biloxi as they unveiled the

state’s defense strategic plan.

22 | C O L L E G E O F B U S I N E S S A N D E C O N O M I C D E V E L O P M E N T

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