US Department of Defense Releases Small Business Strategy
The U.S. Department of Defense is taking steps to unlock the potential of small businesses across the country and leverage their capabilities in the coming years.
Small businesses represent roughly 70% of companies that do business with the Pentagon.
Unfortunately, participation of small businesses in the defense industrial base has declined by over 40% in the last decade—a drop that has some leaders concerned for the future.
“Supporting small businesses is not just about meeting a goal or checking a box; it’s about building advantages for our warfighters,” said Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Dr. William LaPlante.
DoD’s 2023 small business strategy focuses on streamlining efforts across the department to make it easier for small businesses to work with the Pentagon, align businesses to sustain and expand modernized capabilities, and reduce barriers for smaller firms.
“All of American industry, especially our innovative small businesses, has a role in developing, delivering, and sustaining the critical capabilities that are required to further implement the national defense strategy,” LaPlante said.
Small Business Management
The strategy for 2023 is broken down into three objectives.
Improving management practices is at the top of the list, as many small businesses struggle to understand how to get involved and who to contact first.
To overcome these challenges, DoD is establishing a small businesses integration group to bring sectors together, and meet regularly about small business programs and activities.
The group should help establish a management structure that aligns small business programs and small business-related efforts across the department.
Small businesses can expect to see increased collaboration among DoD programs and digital tools to enter the system.
Businesses will also see changes to the current website to make it easier to navigate.
DoD is also working to increase training and education for its workforce as it relates to small businesses.
National Security Priorities
The second part of the initiatives focused on creating a small business ecosystem that aligns with national security priorities.
It starts with innovation. The department is looking at ways to stabilize and scale technology and manufacturing programs so that businesses can make the investments the agency needs.
The initiative will also focus on onshoring and strengthening the industrial base and supply chain.
Technology and market intelligence data will play a role in this to help the agency understand the supply chain and local small business manufacturers.
As businesses undergo acquisitions, the department also hopes to improve communications to ensure business capabilities and technologies are included in developing acquisition strategies.
Small Business Engagement
The final part of the initiative looks at improving the connection between small businesses and the Pentagon.
DoD is working to improve outreach to the small business community with not only opportunities for contracts, but cybersecurity training and other resources as well.
As cyber risks are becoming an increasing concern, the department is focused on protecting information.
While the resources needed to safeguard data and systems often puts a strain on small businesses, the department is looking at ways to support those firms.
Overall, DoD expects these strategies will reduce barriers for small businesses.
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