The Mississippi Defense Initiative (MDI) is a program from the United States Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment, the University of Southern Mississippi, and public and private sector partners that believe in the promise of a diverse Mississippi economy.

The MDI unites federal labs, defense companies, other private businesses, Mississippi entrepreneurs, Mississippi educational institutions, Mississippi public entities, and domain experts to design, develop, and roll-out strategies to transition from heavy defense-oriented revenue models to commercial revenue models. 

MDI Resources:

MDI One Pager
How to Identify Defense Contractors in a Region
Innovation Strategies for MDI Target Audience


Helping Mississippi’s Economy to Take Flight

Leading global aerospace companies are thriving in Mississippi as a result of the state’s skilled and productive workforce, comprehensive workforce training programs, supportive business environment, strategic location, low startup and operation costs, and cutting-edge R&D capabilities. Our initiative helps support these companies and new start-ups by ensuring that they develop diversified products and sales channels to enhance their business prospects and Mississippi’s economy.
Military UnmannedAerial Vehicles and Diversification Opportunity

Blue Economy

Leveraging the Power of the Gulf Coast

Mississippi’s Blue Economy is driving the economic diversification of the Gulf Coast region to support innovations that contribute to the global economy based on oceans, seas, harbors, ports, and coastal zones. With maritime — or “blue” — industries dominating Mississippi’s economy and the state’s three coastal counties supporting 35% of its entire workforce through the blue economy, our initiative helps develop synergistic partnerships that will move the state's maritime economy forward into the 21st century.

National Security

Securing our Nation, our Businesses, and our Citizens

The Internet, wireless communications, semiconductors, and a host of other innovations on which the modern U.S. high-tech economy is built are derivatives of early defense investments. With Mississippi seeking to ensure that its companies are well positioned to deliver the next generation of innovations that benefit national defense, private industry, and consumers, our initiative develops partnerships to support civil-military innovation.



Mississippi Gulf Coast Defense Forum

Join us in Gulfport - With nearly 37,000 DOD personnel, $5.2 Billion Defense Dollars spent in the state, Mississippi is quickly establishing itself as a center for excellence in naval technology and defense innovation. Join the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, the Mississippi Coast Alliance and the Association of Defense Communities for a special two-day Summit that will bring together key leaders from DOD, state and local government, industry and COngress to explore the issues and innovative partnerships that are defining the future of Gulf Coast defense communities. More Info...

A Big Idea Rising Out of Mississippi – HiRO Drone

Mississippi innovates - The HiRo Telemedical Drone will shape the future of emergency and disaster response in the United States and around the world. Dr. Italo Subbarao, Senior Associate Dean at the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Dr. Guy Paul Cooper, Jr., started developing this system after an EF-4 tornado hit the Hattiesburg area in 2013. This telemedical device utilizes advanced telecommunications and augmented reality to deliver lifesaving first aide to those injured in disaster zones or in an emergency. Watch the video below to learn more about the future of emergency response. More Info...

How a Military Airfield Became a Thriving Airport

The Mississippi Gulf Coast has a proud military history. From the military bases to the numerous defense contractors to the retirees who call the Coast their home, the military has played a tremendous role in shaping the very fabric of our community. Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport recognizes its origins as an Army Airfield in 1942 and celebrates its 75th Anniversary. With the outbreak of World War II, the US Government leased 1,200 acres of land from the City of Gulfport at the current location of the airport. The Army Airfield was established and trainees began to arrive in September of 1942. More Info...

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