About Us

MISSION: Defense Alliance accelerates commercialization for technology products and services, and contributes to regional economic development by supporting small businesses in the Upper Midwest.

The Alliance also contributes to the vibrancy of the defense industry and the national technology base in various market areas such as:  power and energy, strategic natural resources, cybersecurity, and many others. The national technology base is driven largely by defense requirements and spending (both off-the-shelf and R&D), and we encourage firms to consider funding their innovations through DoD programs where available.  The mission of the Alliance also includes a focus on companies that are in rural areas of the Upper Midwest (principally ND, SD, MN and WI).

Defense Alliance funding comes from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) through the Regional Innovation Cluster (RIC) program; and therefore we are an active SBA Resource Partner.

OPERATIONS: The operations of the Defense Alliance include several important elements:

  • Consulting Services for Member companies and organizations (click HERE to learn more)
  • Events held quarterly that provide a forum to link industry, academia and government organizations engaged in technology commercialization
  • Periodic informational Webinars on industry trends, opportunities and other topics
  • A periodic “Defense Industry Roundtable” event to convene defense industry stakeholders in the region
  • Ongoing networking by the Membership to help other Members match technologies and services to opportunities.

MEMBERSHIP:  Participation in the Defense Alliance is sought among groups and individuals with an interest in seeing the region's defense contributions grow, including large and small firms, startups, academic and R&D institutions, our elected officials, and professional military and trade organizations.

Thanks in part to ongoing funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Regional Innovation Cluster (RIC) program, membership in the Alliance has always been free - however, registered Members agree to assist other Members in their business development goals where possible by sharing information and making connections. While the Alliance is anchored in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St Paul and focused on technology businesses in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin, it has pioneered an "extra-regional" approach to technology-based economic development. As of 2017, the Alliance has Member organizations in 34 states. Click Here to Register your Company!

HISTORY:  The Defense Alliance aims to enhance the network of individuals and organizations originally created by the Minnesota Defense Industry Roundtable (and the associated on-line Newsletter) begun in 2003. The organization formed in July, 2004 as an independent organization within a small business, Minnesota Wire. In 2010, the Alliance became an Advanced Defense Technologies Cluster, funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Regional Innovation Cluster (RIC) program; and was endorsed by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) by inclusion in the National Defense Authorization Act. Among more than 60 technology clusters that are in part or wholly funded by the federal government, Defense Alliance was for years the only small business – and remains one of the very few. Defense Alliance was acquired by Logistic Specialties, Inc. (LSI - Layton, Utah - www.lsiwins.com) in February, 2017. In late 2018, the Alliance was once again awarded RIC funding to operate from 2019 through 2023; and again in 2023, for another five year contract period.