As Contractors we are often so busy with the day–to-day work of our current Contracts that we don’t take time to pay attention to the rest of the world of Government Contracts beyond the scope of those that are in our immediate sphere of influence. We have become familiar with many of the key players Aerospace and Technology, but there are many other types of task orders being approved right under our noses. In my building and the adjoining and neighboring buildings we have numerous offices of Government Contractors such as Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Booz Allen Hamilton and others. All provide significant support to Government Agencies on the National and International Levels. It’s often interesting to review the portfolios of some of our fellow Contractors (and often our competitors) in order to compare quality or services, business processes and to learn from their successes as well as their failures.
Over the next few years of my contract we will continue to see a growing trend of programmatic changes for my company and for our Government Agency. Specialized and unique projects such as game changing technology projects, satellite projects, unmanned spaceflight ventures, increased International Space Station (ISS) work and more research and data analysis tasks. Many tasks are related to areas of interest to me, such as space microbiology and human intracellular and molecular conditions in space.
Due to the size and complexity of many Defense and Military Contracts, I will share some of the research that I have conducted as Program Manager; in order to better understand contract types, customer needs, contract terms and Periods of Performance (POP).
According to a January, 2011 Department of Defense report, DoD announced that Government contracts are valued at $6.5 million or more each business day by 5pm. That is a considerable amount of funding that is paid out to Government Contractors by close of business each day and only for DoD. Based on a June 12, 2012 article in the Wolters and Kluwer Business Journal, the Missile Defense Agency is announcing the award of a sole-source letter contract to Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. (as an undefinitized contract action (UCA) at a total not-to-exceed the price of $2,023,590,000. Yes, that is 2 Billion... Oshkosh Corp., was awarded a fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract with a maximum $382,500,000 for procurement of commercial type fire and emergency vehicles. Raytheon Co., is being awarded the (very familiar) firm-fixed-price contract at $337,840,145 for the procurement of 361 Tomahawk Block IV All-Up-Round missiles for the Navy. The Tomahawk missile was originally produced by, yet another Government Contractor, General Dynamics. Clearly this appears to be a case of Raytheon (a contractor) learning from a competitor (General Dynamics) and improving upon the product in order to secure the Contract. This is something to contemplate as we have spent substantial years refining and perfecting the logistics and peer review process. Our processes and business practices are valuable items that we must continue to improve and protect.
Overall, there is a vast amount of diverse work as a Government Contractor that we should learn about and explore outside of our areas of expertise and comfort. The goals should be to learn how to best meet the needs of our NASA customer. We have chosen a diverse, exciting and continually evolving field in Government Contracting. There is much to learn from other Companies that are in our case only a few floors or blocks away.