LOWELL, Mass. – Personnel from Hanscom Air Force Base, including the three program executive officers, presented information on the various portfolios and upcoming contracting opportunities during the Air Force/Army Business Industry Day at the University of Mass. Lowell Jan. 24.
Sponsored by the Mass. Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force and Mass Development, this fourth annual event allows members of small businesses in the Commonwealth to connect with Hanscom AFB and U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center personnel and offers insight on how to do business with the Department of Defense.
Steve Wert, Battle Management PEO, spoke about how his organization has increased work with small business from less than four percent in fiscal year 2012 to more than 13 percent last year.
“Some of these are very creative, multi-year strategies to take back the technical baseline, create competitive opportunities and carve out those areas where small business can work with us,” he said. “We have not yet had a bad experience with small business.”
The PEO for Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks, Maj. Gen. Dwyer Dennis, highlighted an area of his portfolio that includes military cyber challenges and where he saw an industry fit.
He said cyber responses need to be at the “speed of light,” adding that sometimes they’re required in hours, or a week, or a month. For more foundational weapon system programs, he said the ability for rapid responses needs to be built in.
“I’m convinced there are corollaries in commercial industry, in academia and other areas where we can leverage solution sets to military operations.”
He also spoke about the potential for a cyber solution to a military challenge also applying to non-DOD enterprises, such as financial or medical organizations.
In addition, Dennis mentioned that his organization received the National Veteran Small Business Coalition Award for fiscal year 2015 and said it was on track for meeting small business goals for this year.
Col. Al LaPuma, Nuclear, Command, Control and Communications PEO, as the newest PEO at Hanscom, provided an overview of the type of work his organization performs.
“NC3 was declared a weapon system, but it really is a system of systems,” he said. “The critical elements of NC3 are the connections – we don’t have the sensors, but we’re the transport for how information gets around, the communication nodes between the sensors.”
All three PEOs spoke about programs they manage at Hanscom and at numerous other sites around the country, emphasizing that local small businesses should look for opportunities across the board.
"I want you to open your aperture to all of that," Dennis told the audience.
The event also included a panel with personnel from Hanscom, the NSSC, Mass. National Guard, Defense Innovation Unit Experimental and SOSSEC, Inc. The panel members spoke about various ways industry could find information and interact with DOD, from consortiums and Small Business Innovative Research to the FedBizOpps website and Broad Agency Announcements.
John Beatty, MASS-TF executive director, was pleased with the interaction.
“I recognize that it takes all of us sharing information, bonding together and getting the word out to educate folks to achieve our common end state to support the warfighter in defense of this nation,” he said.