In an environment where contracts for both products and services are dominated by large business, the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T) consistently seeks opportunities to bring small businesses to the big stage. PEO C3T develops, integrates and fields the Army’s tactical network equipment such as radios, satellite terminals, software applications and servers.
Recognizing that small business brings innovation not only with unique hardware and software solutions to meet Army network modernization requirements, but also with highly skilled network subject matter experts, PEO C3T turned to small business partnerships for a variety of needs during 2017. Ranking second across all of Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) and totaling $195 million (13.7%) in total obligations, the program office exceeded small business performance goals for Fiscal Year 2017. This is the highest percentage in the last five years, compared to only 7.7% in Fiscal Year 2013.
PEO C3T works across its portfolio to utilize each category of small businesses in order to adopt the best solutions in terms of network integration; capability advancement for products such as antennas, mission command applications, and technical and systems engineering support.
“We take pride in our diverse portfolio of small business partners, primes and subcontractors who have provided first-class support to our mission,” said Mr. Jose Rodriguez-Ramos, Acquisition Management Officer and Small Business Advocate for PEO C3T. “Therefore, we will continue to make strides in expanding and strengthening our partnership with them. It is a win-win scenario that provides tremendous benefits to our warfighters.”
The trend will continue upward in 2018 as PEO C3T continues to build relationships and promote competition among a variety of small business categories. More than 10% of total PEO obligations are estimated for small business work in FY18. PEO C3T anticipates a need for both hardware capability buys, as well as staff support.
“We encourage small businesses to work through the Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) at APG to ensure that we are aware of the capabilities you can provide,” said Rodriguez-Ramos. PEO C3T will continue to advertise opportunities on Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) to ensure maximum industry exposure.
Focus areas for the upcoming year will include Small Disadvantaged, Women-Owned and Service Disabled Veteran Owned small businesses, as well as Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone). HUBZones typically have low median household incomes, high unemployment and high poverty. As a result, qualified small firms, in designated areas, are provided federal contracting opportunities in order to increase employment opportunities and stimulate capital investment.
One example of a key small business partnership, already flourishing with the program office, is through the use of a HUBZone contract with AIS Engineering. Based out of Silver Spring, Maryland, AIS provides Ku Bandwidth transponders, which provide satellite communications for a variety of Army missions.
Another example of a small business innovation can be found within a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) called Ace Electronics Defense Systems, located in Aberdeen, Maryland. This small business was awarded a ten year contract in December 2016 to design, produce and deliver Installation Kits (IK) in support of Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P) integration onto military vehicles. JBC-P is the Army’s friendly force tracking system, which enables Soldiers to share near real-time situational awareness information, maps and graphics. The Army plans to accelerate fielding of the critical JBC-P capability over the next several years.
PEO C3T also utilizes numerous Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance (SETA) contracts. For example, the Joint Tactical Networking Center (JTNC) has two SETA contracts with G2 Software Systems, a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) in San Diego, California.
By utilizing these different business types, and exploring innovative concepts and capabilities, PEO C3T is evolving the tactical network and taking advantage of rapidly developing, state-of-the-art technology.
PEO C3T has also shown tremendous improvement in educating its workforce on how to maximize small businesses partnerships. With assistance from the Army Contracting Command (ACC) and the OSBP-APG, PEO C3T offers training on topics such as market research techniques, Source Selection Evaluation, and competitive procedures.
“PEO C3T is one of OSBP-APG’s steadfast advocates. They have shown tremendous support to small business not only by spoken words, but through multiple contract actions,” said Ms. Andrea S. Armstrong, Director of the Office of Small Business Programs at APG. “PEO C3T continues to exceed their assigned small business goals while seeking new opportunities to increase small business participation.”
Together, small businesses make up a formidable force, providing an innovative and flexible approach to advancing technology. Working closely with small businesses enables PEO C3T to be more fiscally responsible, while also developing capabilities as a result of new partnerships.
The U.S. Army Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical develops, acquires, fields and supports the Army’s mission command network to ensure force readiness. This critical Army modernization priority delivers tactical communications so commanders and Soldiers can stay connected and informed at all times, even in the most austere and hostile environments. PEO C3T is delivering the network to regions around the globe, enabling high-speed, high-capacity voice, data and video communications to a user base that includes the Army’s joint, coalition and other mission partners.
By Bridget Lynch, PEO C3T Public Affairs