Calls for a ‘Defence Diversification Agency’
The purpose of a proposed Defence Diversification Agency or ‘DDA’, was put together by a group of academics, activists and scientists called the Arms Conversion Defence Diversification Group, in May 2018.
The proposed DDA’s aims would be:
- To encourage diversification of the local economy in areas strongly dependent on Defence employers, making those areas more resilient to changes in the national or international security situation.
- To move skilled workers from the Defence sector to alternative industrial sectors which provide clear social or environmental benefits.
Employment in local areas heavily dependent on the defence industry is especially vulnerable to downturns in national military spending, or the ending of major contracts for the UK military, or for export abroad. Investment is needed in different industries, especially ones which use similar engineering skills, to make sure the local workforce doesn’t suffer if this happens.
Key growth industries which could fulfil this role include on and offshore wind and marine energy, plus energy efficient and renewable energy-powered shipping.
What would the role of a DDA be?
1. Provide relocation funding for civilian industries to move into areas with high levels of Defence industry employment, especially those in areas where renewables are growing.
2. Provide funding for arms industry workers to start up new businesses in the local area with a civilian focus.
3. Provide funding for arms company workers looking to retrain.
4. Push defence industry employers to engage in meaningful collective bargaining over bottom-up proposals for defence diversification.
5. Assist in the organisation of regional coalitions of stakeholders including local industry, local government, trade unions, academia and civil society to support workers and affected communities in making decisions for diversification.
6. Work across government departments as part of a coherent industrial strategy that addresses areas of multiple economic restructuring in response to revisions in defence/security policy, climate change, automation and other key areas of technological change.
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