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The 21 Gun Salute Initiative Benefitting SDVOSBs

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The 21 Gun Salute Initiative Benefiting SDVOSBs

By Debbie Gregory.

The Department of Defense (DoD) has made efforts to improve the prime and subcontracting opportunities available to small businesses owned and operated by service-disabled veterans.

As a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), you can access many opportunities in the federal market. The 21 Gun Salute initiative was created with gratitude for the injured soldier turned businessperson. The Salute is an action plan to meet and exceed the 3% contracting goal with the nation’s service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses  

The program, which has been in existence for more than a decade, contains seven main topics, or “guns”, complete with major sub-goals.

  • Gun #1 – The first gun is Awareness, and is designed to increase public awareness, internal awareness and identify SDVOSBs to provide high demand products and services.
  • Gun #2 – The second gun is Advocacy, which creates a Veterans Advisory Subcommittee to advocate for SDVOSB opportunities, with a special emphasis on Veteran set-asides. It also works to create a pool of advocates among buyers within GSA.
  • Gun #3 – The third gun is Innovation, which capitalizes on best practices for SDVOSB outreach, targets SDVOSBs for selected schedule buys, and finds innovations in financial accreditation of small business
  • Gun #4 – The fourth gun is Training and involves assisting SDVOSBs in finding markets and providing SDVOSB training to contracting officers government wide.
  • Gun #5 – The fifth gun is Recognition. This is a shout-out to SDVOSB supporters, and an acknowledgement of the successes among internal GSA family, enhancing the SDVOSB brand.
  • Gun #6 – The sixth gun is Accountability. This gun holds senior leaders accountable, measures and enforces SDVOSB goals to ensure achievement, and integrates procurement forecasts.
  • Gun #7- The seventh and final gun is Partnerships, which supports business-to-business partnerships among SDVOSBs, as well as interagency partnerships, such as with the SBA and the VA, and partnerships with veterans organizations.

If you are interested in learning more about the 21 Gun Salute initiative, visit the General Services Administration website at

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA,


By Debbie Gregory.

By Debbie Gregory.

Students from Knob Noster High School near Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri are being credited for designing an integral spare part that is now onboard all operational B-2 Spirit Bombers and aircraft simulators at Whiteman.

Using a 3-D printer, the “Stealth Panthers” robotics team at the high school created plastic covers for an important switch box inside the B-2 that can prevent possible in-flight emergencies, according to the Air Force.

Pilots had been mentoring robotics team members on other projects. As a result of that partnership, Brig. Gen. John Nichols, the 509th Bomb Wing commander, was curious if the students could come up with a solution for a switch cover.

The team worked with pilots and engineers last fall to create and test the 3D-printed prototype in a B-2 Spirit training simulator. The part prevents the inadvertent flip of an important switch that pilots use that will essentially turn off the generator and hydraulics but keep the engine on.

The plastic cover attaches to the switch panel with Velcro and protects the switches from being accidentally flipped, base officials said. Although the switches aren’t easily flipped, inadvertently doing so could be catastrophic. Each cover is marked with a control number; pilots are assigned one when they step into the aircraft and return it at the end of the mission. 

“The B-2 Spirit cockpit is equipped with state-of-the-art, cutting-edge technology, but is a very cramped space, so something was needed to keep the pilots or other items from bumping into the switches,” said Capt. Keenan Kunst, a base spokesman. “The students were able to help us find a solution that was quick, affordable and effective.” The covers cost about $1.25 to produce.

Base officials were surprised at how quickly and efficiently the students produced something.

“Seventy-two hours after the initial design concept, the robotics team 3-D printed a cover for four important switches in the $2.2 billion aircraft,” Nichols mentioned in a base statement.

The school district received a $2.25 million grant for robotics and STEM programs from the Department of Defense Education Activity. About two-thirds of the district’s 1,600 students are connected to Whiteman.

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA,

DoD Begins New Year by Awarding a Number of Contracts

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By Debbie Gregory.

The Department of Defense (DoD) kicked off the new year by awarding a number of eight-figure contracts on behalf of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

On January 2nd, the DoD awarded Risk Mitigation Consulting Inc. a $95,000,000 maximum amount, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for mission assurance assessments of installation/facilities infrastructure and facility-related control systems for the Department of the Navy. The work includes, but is not limited to, the collection and evaluation of data concerning the criticality of facilities, utilities, industrial control systems, and supporting infrastructure based on mission impacts, probable threats and hazards, and degrees of vulnerability to determine the overall risk posture of the asset. The company is based in Destin, Florida.

On the same day, the DoD also awarded Raytheon Co. a contract for $81,224,627 for modification P00007 to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive=firm-target contract (N00019-17-C-0042). This modification provides for the procurement of 228 configuration components required for completion of Configuration D Retrofit Component engineering change proposals for the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft for the Navy and the government of Australia. The company is based in El Segundo, California.

Additionally, January 2nd saw Lockheed Martin, Rotary and Mission Systems, Moorestown, New Jersey, awarded a $28,882,337 cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to previously awarded contract N00024-16-C-5102 for AEGIS Baseline 9 Integration and Delivery, TI-08 CG Upgrade, AEGIS Baseline 9 Capability Development, Capability Improvements, Baseline 9 Sea Based Non-Cooperative Target Recognition Development and Radar Engineering.

The Army contracts included O’Gara-Hess & Eisenhardt Armoring Co. LLC, of Fairfield, Ohio, awarded a $60,736,752 firm-fixed-price contract to procure Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles protection kits and Endeavor Robotics Inc., Chelmsford, Massachusetts, was awarded a $32,400,000 firm-fixed-price contract for reset, sustainment, maintenance, and recap parts for Robot Logistics Support Center technicians to support the overall sustainment actions of the entire Endeavor family of small, medium, and large robots.

The only contract awarded on behalf of the Air Force was a $22,500,000 ceiling indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts for the formation of a collaborative working group of various industry partners to work as single extended entity to develop, evolve, update via pre-planned product improvement initiatives, as well as manage and provide configuration control of the open mission systems and universal command and control interface standards, collectively referred to as the Open Architecture Standards. This contract is a joint venture between BAE Systems Information and Electronics Systems Integration; The Boeing Co., Defense, Space & Security; General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.; Goodrich Corp., UTC Aerospace Systems, ISR Systems; Harris Corp., Electronic Systems, Integrated Electronic Warfare Systems; Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co.; Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, ; and Raytheon Co.

JEDI Contract Competition Spurs Lawsuit

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By Debbie Gregory.

The Pentagon has yet to make a decision as to what company will be awarded a multi-billion dollar contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, the cloud technology infrastructure that will handle unclassified material as well as data classified as secret or top secret.

The choice to go with a single-award, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for the project has had tech companies taking their gripes to federal court. It is believed that Amazon Web Services is the front-runner.

Oracle filed a suit against the Department of Defense in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in early December, and the redacted complaint was published December 10th.

Oracle has claimed since the start of the process that this approach would lock the government into legacy tech and could damage innovation, competition and security – and that it goes against various rules on government procurement for high-value awards.

The lawsuit repeated these assertions, but also alleges conflicts of interest within the DoD and that the Pentagon “crafted” the request for proposals criteria to limit the number of vendors that could compete.

It also claims the government has introduced “unduly restrictive requirements” into the criteria required for vendors to bid, which will “cause Oracle significant competitive prejudice”.

IBM, which first filed a protest of JEDI October 10th, filed additional materials with Government Accountability Office (GAO) November 19th in support of its claim that the DoD has turned its back on the wishes of Congress and the administration, as well as industry best practice in cloud acquisition.

Lawmakers have already called for an investigation into the JEDI contract, saying that it appeared tailored to one specific vendor.

The GAO has until February 27, 2019, to issue a decision on IBM’s protest.

Pentagon Former Top Negotiator Removed From Job

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By Debbie Gregory.

Shay Assad, the Director of Defense Pricing and Contracting Initiatives (DPC), in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has been removed from his position.

Trump administration officials have reassigned the Pentagon’s former top weapons-buying negotiator after he racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel costs and pushed a controversial plan to slow payments to defense contractors.

Assad has been reassigned to a post unconnected to the contract negotiating team he has led for the last seven years. The move comes after he pushed to have contractor payments tied to their performance instead of to production milestones. Additionally, Assad had a special arrangement that allowed him to live in the Boston area and commute regularly to Washington, which cost over half a million dollars since 2012.

Officials also say Assad’s reassignment is, in part, due to a sweeping reorganization of the Defense Department’s acquisition directorate in which leaders determined they wanted the head of pricing to be located inside the Pentagon.

Pentagon officials describe Assad as a shrewd negotiator who has saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by getting better deals with major defense contractors. But some current and former officials also describe him as a bully who needed to be monitored by his superiors out of fear he would overstep his authorities.

Prior to his government service, Mr. Assad had a 22-year private sector career in the defense industry. From 1978 to 2000, Mr. Assad worked for the Raytheon Company, holding positions including Vice President – Director of Contracts; Senior Vice President, Contracts; Executive Vice President; and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Raytheon’s Engineering and Construction (RE&C) business with eleven offices world-wide, revenue of $2.7 Billion, and 15,000 employees. In his contracting positions at Raytheon, he was responsible for over $20 Billion in contract negotiation and administration activities in all of Raytheon’s businesses – both government and commercial.