"A lot of our warfare in the future is going to be electronic. Our enemies are going to try to take us down either through our Defense Department systems or through other systems."--Lisa N. Wolford, founder, president and CEO of CSSS.NET
While many conferences suffer from waning interest as panel session after panel session present valuable information over two days, this year's AFCEA Homeland Security conference proved to be quite the opposite. Discussions about upcoming contracting opportunities was at least part of the reason.
On January 12, AFCEA's Small Business Committee will be hosting "Federal Legislative Overview" as part of its Small Business Toolkit Series. The guest speaker for the event is Gregory Willis, counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
A friend of mine recently bought an iPhone. She's a small business owner, and one of the first apps she has looked into buying is one that lets her take credit card payments through her phone. Previously, she could only accept cash or check payments, so this app will help make her business more customer friendly. There are several apps to choose from, two of which I've featured below.
Delays in obtaining security clearances are actually the second biggest problem for companies of any size. The first is what those who want to work with the intelligence community affectionately call the chicken-and-egg problem. Getting a security clearance for corporate personnel is not possible without having a contract that requires secured personnel; however, companies cannot be awarded a contract that requires security clearances until they have personnel that have received security clearances.
Representatives from the DIA, NGA and NSA shared their insights about how to get a foot in the door at intelligence community agencies during the second panel presentation at the AFCEA Small Business Intelligence Forum this morning in Fairfax, Virginia. All agreed that it requires more than the standard marketing approach but emphasized that it is worth the investment in time and talent.
An impressive panel featuring participants from the some of the most well-known "three-lettered" intelligence organizations got down to the nuts and bolts of intelligence agencies' requirements. The discussion, which took place this morning at the AFCEA Small Business Intelligence Forum in Fairfax, Virginia, also centered on where the organizations plan to go in the near future in the information technology realm.
Dr. William Nolte, research professor and director of the Center for Intelligence Research and Education, University of Maryland, laid the problems on the line regarding industry and intelligence community organizations during the AFCEA Small Business Intelligence Forum, which took place today in Fairfax, Virginia. Ranging from determining who is in charge to the acquisition process, Nolte forthrightly shared that the many of the systems that facilitate government-industry partnerships are broken.
The U.S. Air Force is redoubling its efforts to reach out to small businesses. David Van Buren, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, and Ronald Poussard, director of the service's small business programs, explain that this effort seeks to remove the "check-the-box" mentality often associated with small business outreach. Innovation, agility, responsiveness and efficiency are some of the attributes small companies offer, but Van Buren also says, "We don't have enough competition now.
The U.S. State Department has made significant changes during the past 12 months to speed up the process of obtaining a license to export defense-related products. License application approval times for items that fall under International Traffic in Arms Regulations have decreased more than 50 percent, from an average of 35 days to 15 days. This is especially good news for small business owners who do not have the revenue flexibility to miss sales opportunities while they slog through miles of red tape.
The credit crunch that has defined the financial meltdown threatens to derail small business activity in the United States. Many small firms rely on credit for everyday operations because they lack the liquidity to fund their business activities. And, potential startups may remain stillborn as entrepreneurs find it increasingly difficult to obtain necessary seed money.