Retooling for a New Cost Constrained Era in the IC and DoD

Thursday, December 15, 2011
Dan Callahan

Let’s give Credit where it’s due… the Director of National Intelligence is shooting straight.  At a recent speaking venue, he said, “now we’re in a 'we’re in a running out of money so we must think’ mode, I think this is serving as a stimulus, if you will, to do some more creative thinking.  I think this would do wonders in terms of saving money, efficiency and promoting integration”.


The related points he made are: a) our human capital resources are highly valued, and b) we can survive and even thrive if we put our creative brains to work.


This is good leadership.  Most folks simply want the truth as well as guidance and support in order to make the right things happen.  That said, here is the million dollar question:  “what is your business’s plan to increase your piece of the DoD & IC pie?”  Do you believe it’s possible to increasing capability while saving money?  The answer is yes.  In many cases the answer lies in how you position the up-front expense (as compared to the longer term sustainment cost, for example).


I believe complex and challenging situations favor the bold. Selling to these two markets is daunting! So, what is your bold proposal to find new ways to help the IC get more done with less?  This is what the DNI and the agencies are asking for.  Here is a hint: your proposal had better have a very strong business case and return on investment if you expect it to get funded.  This is what the smart companies are retooling for.  I have seen this work.  It may mean bidding two very capable persons vice three moderately capable persons.  So long as the agencies understand your effort to deliver more value, I believe they will listen.  Or, bidding one very robust system that lasts longer then two systems.  Whatever you are contemplating, make sure the top recommendation makes financial sense compared to the other options.  The agencies need this kind of thinking and taxpayers deserve it. 


I am hearing that the fiscal year 2012 will be challenging, but the real budgets kick-in in 2013.  Now is a good time to retool your proposal themes along these business lines.  Good selling!