Today and Tomorrow Bode Well for Small Businesses and DON

Original Article: SEAPOWER

On the final day of the Navy League’s Sea Air Space Exposition, Alison Stiller, principal deputy civilian in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (RD&A) delivered an encouraging, if reassuring, early morning keynote address for small business owners.

Stiller, who has worked closely since June 2015 with Sean J. Stackley, assistant secretary of RD&A, echoed Stackley’s goals while outlining key priorities and the highly-important mandate for streamlining efforts in the Department of the Navy’s Office of Small Business Programs.

In a speech that highlighted the modest small-business roots of today’s giants in the defense industry, among them Huntington Ingalls Industries, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon and Vanguard, Stiller said there is still ample room for small businesses to grow in the defense sector.

“While [these companies] are examples of small businesses that have grown into large businesses, there are still small businesses contributing to our Navy today,” Stiller said. “Our nation is rich with past and current examples of small business entrepreneurial endeavors. The Navy continues to rely on the innovation, manufacturing and services of many small businesses.”

Stiller said the Navy “at this moment” has 56 ships deployed, 101 ships underway for training, over 3,700 operational aircraft and nearly 45,000 Sailors and nearly 32,000 Marines deployed. As an example of a successful small and large business effort, Stiller cited the USS John C. Stennis strike group, deployed in the Western Pacific, as a vessel that is outfitted with “awesome offensive and defensive weapons systems” and “equipped rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft that are the best in the world.” She described the integrated warfare systems and ordnance provided by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, as well as its aircraft, manufactured by Boeing and Northrup Grumman.

“This strike group embodies the definition of entrepreneurial spirit,” said Stiller. “When you think of how we project presence and power from and aircraft carrier, you think of these large companies, but they weren’t always large companies.”

Stiller said the Navy continues rely on the innovation, manufacturing and services of many small businesses. She said the Navy has awarded numerous small business contracts in recent months, including a veteran-owned business that will provide materials in support of the Navy’s tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System suite to be installed in new ships and retrofitted into existing ships.

In the air, said Stiller, a small business is under contract to transfer data between Navy aircraft deployed off the aircraft carrier.

“Small businesses have been instrumental in making us the most technologically advanced Navy in the world, as well as provided much-needed supplies and services to support our warfighters,” said Stiller. “Her entire crew is vital to her success and numbers more than 4,500.”

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