DAHLGREN, Va. — What advice does the Navy have for small business owners who want to do business with the Navy?
How should a business propose a contract to the Navy in support of its surface warfare missions? What opportunities are available?
These are the type of questions that more than 220 business executives had on their minds upon arrival to the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) Small Business and Industry Brief at the University of Mary Washington Dahlgren Campus, Oct. 21.
The businessmen and women left with in-depth answers, including the NSWCDD services acquisition forecast. Moreover, they left with new relationships, perspective and knowledge to guide their business decisions.
"The event provided unprecedented insight into each of our technical departments, acquainting attendees with specific roles, responsibilities, and upcoming procurement opportunities," said Kris Parker, NSWCDD associate deputy director for small business. "The bulk of the audience members consisted of small business representatives, but large businesses were well represented, offering a great opportunity for networking and partnering.”
Guest speaker, Jerome Punderson, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) director of contracts, discussed the current acquisition environment and the procurement process while the business professionals — representing 140 businesses — listened to his insight regarding NAVSEA’s “better buying power” strategy to promote real competition.
Punderson told the business executives and entrepreneurs that “the focus of better buying power is to improve the productivity of DoD’s acquisition of both products and services,” through initiatives in areas such as affordability, cost growth control, and incentivizing productivity and innovation.
Ten NSWCDD leaders — including Technical Director Dennis McLaughlin, Commander Capt. Brian Durant — briefed the business executives and program managers on the command’s mission, capabilities, future initiatives, and support to Navy programs ranging from Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, the littoral combat ship, and DDG 1000 to the electromagnetic railgun, chemical biological and radiological defense, and defense critical infrastructure.
"The command's industry partners, including many small businesses, play a key role in our ability to complete our important mission in support of the fleet," said Tom Duval, chief of the NSWCDD Contracting Office. "Historically, 50 cents out of every dollar we receive is obligated on a contract. The Small Business Outreach and Industry Brief gave us the opportunity to present industry with our future contracting demand signal with the goal of fostering more effective competition."
NAVSEA wants to reduce the number of single competitive bid contracts for several reasons, particularly to improve buying power.
This initiative to promote competition on contracts combined with the capabilities of small businesses to provide rapid, cost-effective technological solutions is enabling Navy leaders to reduce costs.
"Competition leads to cost savings and better contract performance," said Duval. "In the last four years, our competition rate for support services increased from approximately 45 to 80 percent. This is good news for NSWC Dahlgren Division, the Navy, our industry partners and the taxpayer."
NSWCDD looks forward to working with more new businesses and anticipates new opportunities for innovative solutions and performance improvements to the warfighter at a reduced cost.
"We are committed to reaching out to the small business community and through events like this, we get an opportunity to do so in a unique way by having department representatives, like myself present our capabilities, learn more about industry capabilities, and provide the framework to develop partnerships for future collaboration,” said Dr. Marty Irvine, NSWCDD Maritime Warfare Systems department head at Combat Direction Systems Activity Dam Neck. “These engagement events are especially important for my department, which is geographically separated in Hampton Roads at the fleet concentration area."
The businessmen and women also networked with professionals from other small businesses, large businesses and academia — furthering their opportunities for teaming and partnerships.