By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. Army is looking for a new vehicle to quickly transport troops across the battlefield. Qualified applicants must carry nine fully-armed infantry soldiers, work after being pushed out of an airplane, and enjoy a road speed of 55 mph.

The Army recently released a market survey for what it’s calling the Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV). The ISV is meant to be an ultra-light vehicle capable of hauling troops across the battlefield. Unlike other vehicles, the ISV is merely a people hauler and won’t actually do any fighting. The solicitation states that the Army wants to buy new vehicles along with hardware and services, at a total quantity of around 2,065.

The Army has several ways to move infantry soldiers in wartime. At the high end of warfare soldiers are transported in M2A3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs).

At the next level down soldiers in Stryker brigade combat teams ride in Stryker interim armored vehicles. Faster moving but with less protection than a Bradley, Strykers can transport up to nine soldiers meant to dismount before the battle in order to fight.

The next level down is where the new Infantry Squad Vehicle comes in.

The Army and the Marine Corps continue to struggle to find ways to lighten the load of infantry soldiers, a problem that the Defense Department’s newly-formed Close Combat Lethality Task Force has made a priority to address.

“The ISV is all about mobility. Previously, if paratroopers, light infantry or air assault troops wanted to quickly secure their objective they needed to land close by—and become a target for guns and surface-to-air missiles.

The ISV “should be capable of “traversing longitudinal grades up to 60 percent,” but will offer no armor protection for soldiers, according to the solicitation.

“Survivability will be achieved through high mobility, a roll cage and occupant restraints,” the document states.

So if you’ve got a vehicle that could fit the bill, the deadline to respond is October 26, 2018.


By Debbie Gregory.

The Chinese government broke into the supply chain for about 30 US companies as well as government contractors by using malicious computer chips, according to a new report by Bloomberg Businessweek.

The tiny microchips are no larger than single grains of rice.  Chinese spies inserted the microchips into equipment used by the companies and American agencies in order to gather intellectual property, along with trade and governmental secrets.


The chips, which were allegedly discovered in 2015 by engineers at Amazon and Apple, allowed hackers to “create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines,” a Trojan horse that gave hackers a direct line into any sensitive network, according to the report.

Amazon and Apple denied the Bloomberg report.

But the report stated that Amazon reported the discovery to U.S. authorities, which sent a shudder through the intelligence community. Affected servers could be found in Department of Defense data centers, the CIA’s drone operations, and the onboard networks of Navy warships.

There have been heightened concerns about foreign intelligence agencies infiltrating American and other companies through so-called “supply chain attacks,” particularly from China where several high-tech firms outsource their manufacturing, according to Reuters.

Cybersecurity companies have warned that Chinese hacking activity has skyrocketed amid increased tensions between Washington and Beijing. The United States and China are locked in a bitter and escalating trade war, in which hundreds of billions of U.S. and Chinese products are under tariff.

The reported electronic spying via supply chains to U.S. companies are certain to continue long-standing questions about the essential but uneasy relationship between the world’s two leading economies.

American companies design and sell leading technology products, such as servers, laptop computers and smartphones, but depend on the labor force  in China to build and assemble them.

By Debbie Gregory.

Building an online presence from the ground up can be very intimidating for a small business owner. Gone are the days when just having a Facebook page and Twitter account was all you needed. Customers are choosing to shop online now more than ever.

Here are some tips as to the best way to bring your business online:

First of all, focus on getting your business off the ground and on the internet. Concentrate on your website. Make sure it is functional. If buttons aren’t working or your website is not responding, your potential customers will move on to your competitors’ websites. Because your website is a reflection of your business, it’s worth investing in making it up to date and easy to navigate. And don’t forget to offer a mobile app as well.

Depending on the type of business you run, think about setting up an e-commerce site that allows customers to purchase your products online.

Blogging is the best way to keep your customers in the loop on topics such as sales, deals, events, and much more. You don’t have to bombard your customers with posts every day, but don’t neglect fresh content.

Make sure your products and services have a price point that covers all of your costs and allows for a profit.

Keep in mind that there are many professional groups that you can join to find potential business contacts, as well as to stay on top of trends happening in your industry. LinkedIn is probably one of the best for accomplishing this.

Offer something to your visitors in exchange for their email addresses, like a percentage off or a free download.

Know before you start, building and running any business, online or brick and mortar, means you will be working long and hard in the beginning stages.

Hopefully, at some point, it will get easier and smoother.

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. Army recently awarded AM General LLC a contract worth up to $800 million to build thousands of High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (Humvee) ambulances to supplement the service’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) fleet.

Based in South Bend, Indiana, AM General is best known for the civilian Hummer and the military Humvee that are assembled in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Both the Army and the Marine Corps plan to replace a large portion of their outdated Humvee fleets with the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, a joint program that could be worth up to $30 billion if they end up buying the proposed 60,000 units.

The contract to build the 2,800 new M997A3 Humvee ambulances was initially worth $562.5 million, but that amount could be worth $800 million if the Army decides to commit to two optional years on top of the three-year base contract, according to Deborah Reyes, a spokesman for AM General.

Both services will continue to use the Humvee, especially the ambulance variant since there is no ambulance version of the JLTV.

The new M997A3 is based on AM General’s M1152 up-armored Humvee chassis and body, Reyes said. The M1152 is enhanced with “integrated armor protection,” AM General’s website states.

“AM General continues to support the warfighter’s needs by delivering high-quality M997A3 ambulances based off our modernized, proven, rugged, all-terrain HMMWV’s,” Chris Vanslager, AM General executive vice president for U.S. Defense, said in a news release. “We understand the importance of being able to reliably and safely transport the wounded within operational areas on the battlefield to medical aid stations and are proud that the M997A3 can fulfill this critical mission.”

According to a company press release, the company will procure all system materials and parts, manufacture the chassis and body structure before shipping the integrated chassis system to Rock Island Arsenal where the ambulance shelter will be manufactured and assembled into the final product.

The Humvee saw widespread use in the Gulf War of 1991, where it negotiated the treacherous desert terrain; this usage helped to inspire civilian Hummer versions. After going through a replacement process, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) was chosen as its successor.

By Debbie Gregory.

Starting your own business is often a learn-as-you-go process. But, the more smart decisions you make early on, the better chance your company has for success. As a new small business owner, it is imperative that you establish practices, policies, and good habits early on.

As you begin this journey, know that you will more than likely work harder and longer than you have in the past. There are some important financial practices that you will want to utilize from the very start.

Solid bookkeeping and accounting practices will help you meet your goals and grow your small business.

First and foremost, keep your personal and business expenses separate. Open a business checking and savings account in the legal name of the business with its Tax ID number. The same goes for credit cards, lines of credit, and loans. Unless you’re a sole proprietor, you are legally required to keep your business finances separate from your personal finances.

Start off with a robust bookkeeping system. There are plenty of free or low-cost bookkeeping and accounting products available to help manage your small business’ finances. Another option is contracting a part-time bookkeeper or a CPA. You can also outsource to an accounting firm that can handle your books, payroll, and invoicing.

Keep good records so that you can be up to date on the progress of your business. Your records can help you identify the more profitable areas of your business, so you know where to focus your time and talents.

Keep your finger on the pulse of your tax liabilities, be it sales tax or income tax. Also keep close tabs on the accounting tools you have in place today; they might need to adjusted as your business grows. However, you’ll never outgrow the good accounting habits you’ve put in place from the beginning.