Dan Cohen AUTHOR To cope with the uncertain trajectory of defense spending, the state of Wisconsin needs to consider ways to diversify its economy, according to a commentary in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.The city of Oshkosh already is attempting to reduce its reliance on defense contracts following the loss of thousands of jobs at Oshkosh Defense as DOD has slashed its procurement of tactical military vehicles. One avenue local planners are pursuing with the support of $1.8 million in grants from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) is helping the suppliers of Oshkosh Defense enter other industries.The city of Marinette similarly should prepare for the possibility that work building the Navy’s littoral combat ship at Marinette Marine Corp. declines, write David Newby, president emeritus of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, and state Rep. Melissa Sargent (D).“Developing alternatives would serve as a useful ‘Plan B’ to deal with any reductions in the number of LCS ships slated to be built in Wisconsin,” they stated.Other states dependent on military contracts are moving ahead with initiatives to lessen their reliance on DOD. Two years ago Connecticut lawmakers passed legislation creating a Commission on Connecticut’s Future to seek ways to diversify the state’s economy with sustainable jobs that can cushion Pentagon spending uncertainties, according to the commentary. Michigan recently received a grant from OEA to develop alternative plans for 10 companies statewide.Several groups in Wisconsin already are looking at how best to reduce the state’s dependence on defense dollars. Sustainable Solutions: Wisconsin Defense Transition Coalition has urged the state to craft a plan to save good paying jobs and create new ones while transitioning to a new sustainable economy. One of the group’s proposals calls for Oshkosh Corp. to shift production of civilian-related products now destined for a plant in Mexico to Wisconsin.“It’s time for a new approach that will put Wisconsin’s economy on a sound footing for the future and protect it against the uncertainties of the military budget,” the commentary concludes.