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[infowar.de] Pentagon sucht neue Technologiefirmen
... nämlich solche, die noch nie Aufträge der Streifkräfte bekommen
March 8, 2002
Official: Pentagon realities challenge new tech contractors
By Molly M. Peterson, National Journal's Technology Daily
Defending the nation against 21st-century threats requires products and
services from high-tech companies that have never worked with the
Pentagon before, Defense Department officials told industry
representatives on Friday. But they cautioned that bringing those
nontraditional firms into the loop would not be easy.
"We've got to improve our ability to reach out," John Stenbit, Defense's
chief information officer, said at a conference sponsored by the
Northern Virginia Technology Council, adding that the high-tech industry
must be part of the "coalition" fighting the war on terrorism.
"That's why I'm here," Stenbit told the crowd of roughly 100. A show of
hands indicated that most of the attendees had never done business with
Stenbit said it is "extremely difficult" for smaller, specialized
technology firms to penetrate the defense market, in part because the
Pentagon is largely stuck in the Cold War era when it comes to business
"We're still in the old mode, but transformation requires that we go
into the new mode," Stenbit said, referring to Defense's efforts to
transform its military and administrative capabilities in a manner that
reflects the global transition from the industrial age to the
Deirdre Lee, director of defense procurement for the Pentagon's
Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics office, noted that roughly 12,500
companies responded to last October's request for new technological
ideas to help combat global terrorism.
"We are going through those, and we are identifying some of them for
funding as we speak," Lee said, adding that her office plans to issue at
least one more broad agency announcement this year to "welcome in" any
other high-tech companies with innovative ideas.
Lee also had some advice for technology firms that are trying to reach
into the defense market. "Very frequently, companies come in and say,
'We do this,' but they don't tell us how their product or service solves
a specific Defense Department problem, or how it would fit into our
system," Lee said.
Before making their marketing pitch, she added, companies should "do the
research to understand where we are, where we're trying to go, and how
your product or service will scratch that itch."
One itch that needs scratching is the Pentagon's top-priority goal of
building a global Internet network that would use optical switches to
transmit huge amounts of data at lightning speed.
"There's an enormous opportunity for creative people to think about what
happens when we actually get into a networked world," Stenbit said,
noting that the fiscal 2002 Defense budget calls for $1 billion to plant
the seeds for that optical network, beginning in October. "The stuff you
guys provide has to allow people to become dependent on this trusted
network, whether they're writing paychecks or shooting a Tomahawk
Stenbit told the crowd that the war on terrorism, and the military's
transformational needs, have created a "real marketplace" for
nontraditional defense contractors specializing in information
technology. "I'm really confident that there are open ears for good
ideas," he said. "But I don't suggest it's easy."
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