COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE FOR SMALL-TO-MEDIUM TECHNOLOGY FOCUSED DEFENSE CONTRACTORS – PART 1
By Victoria Loewengart
Victoria Loewengart is an information technology consultant
19 Aug 10. The United States economy will never be the same. The changes in world dynamics, as well as global and nationwide recessions, are already affecting the way the United States defense industry functions, and these changes will continue to become more profound with the passage of time. Although the United States‘ defense industry heavily depends on the defense contracting organizations, which provide anything from satellites to security services, this change will affect the very survival of these defense contractors.
Very large top-tier defense contractors, such as Lockheed and Boeing, may lose some of their luster, but will survive, because they are so deeply entrenched into the fabric of the defense industry, and they are simply too big to fail. Smaller defense contracting organizations, however, may not. What will ensure the survival and success of these small to medium (SM) defense contracting organizations?
The answer lies in the ability of their leaders to make the best strategic, tactical, and operational decisions, which are in tune with the current and future strategies of the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and intelligence communities (IC).
In other words, those organizations that use effective competitive intelligence (CI) and act upon it promptly will survive and grow, and the rest will flounder, and many will perish.
SM defense contractor organizations discussed in this paper are technology-focused, privately held or public companies that have revenue of less than $1 billion, and are not protected by the special status of a disadvantaged small business. This research paper will suggest, albeit in wide brush strokes, a roadmap for the CI cycle for a SM technology-focused defense contracting organization.
The discussion of the CI cycle will include identification of important trends in the defense industry, defense procurement practices, sources of the information, focused CI collection techniques, and who within the organization is ultimately responsible for collecting and acting upon the CI so that a SM defense contractor organization can survive and flourish under the streamlined DoD culture of the future.
One of the most noticeable recent indicators of the movement toward reshaping and streamlining of the US defense industry was Defense Secretary Robert Gates‘ speech(1.) on May 8, 2010 at the Eisenhower Library. Gates blatantly asserted that The Defense Department must take a hard look at every aspect of how it is organized, staffed, and operated – indeed, every aspect of how it does business,. and called for severe scrutiny of existing and future defense programs, especially the part played by defense contractors.(2.) The stage was set for major cuts in DoD programs.
1. Gates, Robert M. “Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs).” U.S. Department of Defense. May 08, 2010. http://www.defense.gov/utility/printitem.aspx?print=http://www.defense.gov/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=1467 (accessed May 10, 2010).
2. Shaughnessy, Larry. “Gates proposes cutting Joint Forces command from defense budget.” CNN Politics. August 9,
http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/08/09/gates.joint.forces/index.html?eref=rss_us&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_us+%28RSS%3A+U.S.%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher (accessed August 10, 2010) and Gates, Robert M. “Office DOD News Briefing with Secretary Gates from the Pentagon.” U.S. Department of Defense. August 09, 2010.
http://www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=4669(accessed August 10, 2010).
It did not take long before the reforms started to take place. On August 10, 2010, Gates followed up with the proposal to eliminate the Joint Forces Command, th