By Debbie Gregory.

A new, lightweight ghillie suit for snipers is being tested to replace the current Flame Resistant Ghillie System, or FRGS, that will be more functional for troops in hot environments.

The proposed Improved Ghillie System (IGS) a modular system that would be worn over the field uniform.

During the three day testing at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, snipers concealed themselves in a forest setting while other snipers tried to spot them from distances from 33 to 655 feet.

A ghillie suit is a type of camouflage clothing designed to resemble the background environment such as foliage, snow or sand. Typically, it is a net or cloth garment covered in loose strips of burlap, cloth or twine, sometimes made to look like leaves and twigs, and optionally augmented with scraps of foliage from the area.

Program Executive Office Soldier developed the IGS. Components include sleeves, leggings, veil and cape that can be added or taken off as needed.

The Army plans to buy about 3,500 IGSs to outfit the approximately 3,300 snipers in the service, as well as Army snipers in U.S. Special Operations Command.

The ghillie suit was developed by Scottish gamekeepers as a portable hunting blind. Lovat Scouts, a Scottish Highland regiment formed by the British Army during the Second Boer War, is the first known military unit to use ghillie suits.

The IGS features a lighter, more breathable fabric than the material used in the FRGS, and offers some flame-resistance, but soldiers will receive most of their protection from their Flame Resistant Combat Uniform, worn underneath the IGS, Army officials said.

Snipers, except for those fighting in urban terrain, traditionally spend much of their shooting time in a “creep,” pursuing a target in the prone position. A soldier’s creation of his first ghillie suit is seen as a rite of passage into the sniper community.

By Debbie Gregory.

Having a great business idea usually begins with filling a need. Whether you are going to sell a product or provide a service, your status as a veteran owned business or service disabled veteran owned business gives you a leg-up on the competition. The general public, corporations and the government all want to do business with you.

So what type of business should you start? The obvious first choice is something that is related to the things you enjoy. Many hobbyists go on to elevate their interests into thriving businesses at little to no cost.

Here are some examples:

Gear-heads who have a love of cars and motorcycles could launch a swap-meet style business that offers fellow enthusiasts the chance to meet up and buy, sell and trade parts.

If you love being on your computer, perhaps an online researching company would be up your ally. All you need is a phone, a computer, and internet access.

If your talents run more to the social media side of the web, social media management is an up-and- coming area that many companies are looking to outsource. Scaling up and hiring others will allow you to focus on getting new clients.

If you enjoy painting, you’re not just restricted to residential properties. A graffiti removal company is an unfortunate necessity in most cities nowadays.

Like working from home? You can become a virtual assistant. Once you are established, you can scale your business as you secure more clients.

If you’d rather be out and about, consider an errand running service. Again, as your business grows, you can hire employees. And since most people know how to do this already, your employees won’t require a lot of training.

If you love animals, there are numerous opportunities available, including pet walking, pet waste clean-up, pet day care, pet-sitting and pet transportation. You have the choice to either stick to one specific service, or choose a number of them. It’s your business, so it’s up to you.

If you know enough about a subject to advise others, start a consulting business. This could include IT consulting, fund-raising for non-profits, advertising consulting, public relations, writing services, and many more.

Gifted in math? Start a tutoring company or a tax return service. Interior design your thing? Start a design business or staging company.

If you’re willing to invest a bit more money in your business, you might consider the following:

A mobile paper-shredding service- Again, an unfortunate necessity in today’s identity theft climate.

A residence for the elderly- Turning a private home into a home for older people who do not wish to or cannot live alone can be a very profitable business. Keep in mind that who you employ to take care of the residents is probably the most important element.

Corporate health/fitness centers- Develop and manage fitness centers for corporations since higher stress, longer work days and constant multitasking make it difficult for employees to find the time to act on wellness goals. Creating an on-site wellness program works due to the amount of time spent at the workplace.

These are just a few suggestions, and with a little leg-work, you can find your niche.

By Debbie Gregory.

Gunnery Sgt. David Smith, served more than 20 years in the Marines as a cook, and developed the secret recipe for his salsa during those years. David and his dad, Tom, are two of only five people who know the top-secret recipe for their Jar Head Salsa.

“It’s kept in Grand Blanc, Michigan, and guarded by a Marine,” said Tom Smith of the recipe.

David came up with the recipe when he was cooking for some 3,000 U.S. Marines a day at Camp Pendleton in Southern California.

“We went to visit him and he told us to try the salsa he created. It was wonderful,” said Tom. “We started bringing back coolers of his salsa.”

In 2009, the father and son would take over the kitchen of the Grand Blanc Township VFW Post 822 twice a week, chopping, mixing and tasting the salsa until they achieved perfection. The top Secret Recipe includes eight different vegetables, citrus juices, and spices.

They began selling the salsa at local farmers markets, donating 10 percent of the net revenues to charities that support veterans.

For Tom, who retired from quality control at General Motors in 2008, this is his shot at a dream.

“I had this entrepreneurial desire that was pent up all those years at GM,” said Tom. “This doctor, who kept ordering the salsa and giving it to his friends, said we should go into business. That’s all I needed to hear.”

David graduated from U.S. Marine Corps boot camp in 1998 and quickly worked his way up to gunnery sergeant running the food service for some 3,000 marines stationed at Camp Pendleton.

“There was a lot of Mexican food down that way,” Tom said. “The Marine Corps food services has a taco bar… it’s like a buffet.”

David found the government-issued salsa unacceptable, so he set out to fix that problem. He began experimenting with creating his own salsa. It took a few tries, but he found the perfect recipe and his Marines loved it. When his parents started sharing it with colleagues and friends, they knew it was a hit.

After David retired from the service in 2008, he and Tom launched the business. Although it took a while for Jar Head Salsa to be profitable, the company has donated $46,800 to charity so far.

Jar Head Salsa ships salsa to most of the 50 states.

By Debbie Gregory.

In order to build a successful business, you need to have a solid foundation. Part of that foundation includes relationships with your clientele, vendors, etc.

When dealing with the U.S. Federal Government, you probably already know that you have competition—a lot of competition. The government is the largest buyer of goods and services in the world, spending over $500 billion per year. So how do you make your business stand out and become noticeable to contracting officers, small business specialists, and program offices?

Relationships! In friendships or business, human nature dictates that people want to be with and work with those they know and like. Be committed to consistently reaching out and making the effort to keep you and your business at the forefront of the minds of the people with whom you want to work.

Be sure that you leave a positive impression with each contact you have, be it in person, on the phone or through email. Always be courteous, even if you are feeling rejected. Let them see how easy it is to work with you. Make sure you have done your homework and are prepared, so that you know they’re buying what you’re selling.

Make sure that your end-user knows you can do the job by showing them completed projects of similar complexity, size and scope. Additionally, respond to their inquiries and correspondence in a most timely manner.

And last, but not least, share information and technical expertise as part of your commitment to building or fortifying your relationships with current and potential customers.

By Debbie Gregory.

Four firms have been selected by the Marine Corps to help develop a new handheld targeting system that will provide assistance in firing at the enemy more accurately.

The Marine Corps awarded four “Other Transaction Authorities” or OTAs. OTAs are a procurement tool approved by Congress in 2016 to pay for prototypes and to hire non-traditional defense companies to spur innovation,

The companies are:

• BAE Systems
• Elbit Systems of America
• Fraser Optics
• Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation

These companies will assist in to produce Next Generation Handheld Targeting System or NGHTS is a lightweight, man-portable system that helps Marines to quickly acquire target location data from the battlefield. The goal of the NGHTS is to replace four systems that are currently used. These systems that will be replaced are the Portable Lightweight Designator Rangefinder, Joint Terminal Attack Controller, Laser Target Designator and the Thermal Laser Spot Imager.

NGHTS is important because it is planned to reduce the current weight of the laser designation and laser spot imaging capability by 60 percent, which will increase the mobility and lethality of our fire support-focused Marines,” Maj. Nathan Morales, targeting systems project officer for Program Manager Fires, said in the release. Phase One includes exploring potential system capabilities and providing an in-depth study of the best solution for the best price. Megan Full is the contract specialist supporting PM Fires at MCSC. They plan to collect the findings by the second quarter of 2019 and select at least one vendor to move into Phase Two to develop and demonstrate prototypes.

The areas of focus are:

• System’s overall ergonomics for supporting forward deployed, foot mobile users
• Target recognition, location and designation ranges during day and night operations
• Ability to integrate the system with the Target Handoff System Version 2 to view and manipulate target information
• Technological maturity, manufacturability and value engineering
• Sustainability at the operational user level

The end game is for NGHTS to combine all of the legacy capabilities into one system that is compatible with both current and future fire support systems and will support the Marine Corps for the next 15 to 20 years.