Opening Doors

By February 15, 2016September 1st, 2018Army ALT Magazine
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ASC and JMC, who together support “big Army” in a big way, used set-asides, a regional symposium with other commands and an industry week to award $916 million in work to small businesses in FY15.

by Mr. Justin Graff and Mr. Tony Lopez

The U.S. Army Sustainment Command (ASC) and the Joint Munitions Command (JMC) together represent the largest number of employees at Rock Island Arsenal, IL. From the middle of the United States, the two commands support a global array of mission requirements from major commands, and many of these requirements become the responsibility of the ASC/JMC Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP).

ASC has a mission to provide globally responsive, strategic logistics capability and materiel readiness that enable combatant commanders to conduct the full range of military operations. ASC is the Army’s global logistics center—a multibillion dollar enterprise that supports the Army’s ability to regenerate, equip and sustain its fighting force. Through the Enhanced Army Global Logistics Enterprise (EAGLE) program and the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP), many small businesses have an opportunity to support these logistics requirements. LOGCAP’s mission is to provide the Army’s premier capability to support global contingencies by leveraging corporate assets to augment the sustainment force structure.

JMC manages a nationwide network of 14 industrial base installations across the country. Its core competences are to produce, distribute, store and demilitarize ammunition. As the single manager for conventional ammunition, providing a variety of items that support all services and other government agencies, JMC manages ammunition ranging from small-caliber rounds used by all military services to bunker-buster bombs used by the Navy and Air Force. Small businesses across the country play a major role in the JMC mission, providing many services and ammunition components under contract with the Army.

EAGLE FORECASTING

EAGLE FORECASTING
Jody Fasko, chief of the EAGLE Business ­Office at ASC, briefs small business leaders on contract opportunities during industry week, October 2015. The EAGLE program opens up entire Army installations to small businesses. (Photo by Tony Lopez, JMC Public and Congressional Affairs)

Beginning in 2004, when the 40 mm grenade program was set aside for small business through efforts by JMC, the Army and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the ASC/JMC OSBP has worked with U.S. Army Contracting Command – Rock Island (ACC-RI) to award $2.62 billion to small businesses. This includes awards to several small business machine shops that produce metal parts used in 40 mm grenade production, in addition to awards for other ammunition components, environmental remediation and professional services.

How to define which businesses are small businesses? For service contracts, there’s a revenue maximum; for manufacturing contracts, a maximum number of employees. Small businesses competing for a service contract must not exceed $37.5 million in average annual revenue (averaged over the past three years). Small businesses competing for manufacturing contracts must have a maximum of 1,500 employees (again, calculated as an average of the past three years). The North American Industry Classification System codes lay out these standards, created by the U.S. Census Bureau in consultation with the SBA.

CREATING OPPORTUNITIES

The Midwest Small Business Government Contracting Symposium, initiated in January 2008 by the National Defense Industrial Association, is now held every May as part of ongoing efforts to create opportunities for small businesses. In addition to ASC and JMC, representatives from U.S. Army Garrison – Rock Island, the Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and ACC-RI provide information on potential future contracts for each group.

Beginning in 2014, the event also included the Advance Planning Briefing for Industry for all six major commands based on Rock Island Arsenal, as well as a few customers based elsewhere. The Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce has coordinated the annual event since 2013, giving small businesses the opportunity to connect with government representatives who may be interested in their services or products.

SMALL BUSINESS CONTACTS

SMALL BUSINESS CONTACTS
Maj. Gen. Kevin G. O’Connell, ASC commanding general, meets small business owners at the 2015 Midwest Small Business and Government Contracting Symposium at the iWireless Center in Moline, IL. The annual event gives small businesses a unique opportunity to connect with the Army. (Photo by SFC Shannon Wright, ASC Public Affairs)

The symposium has grown from 34 attendees who met the first year in a small office space to an average of approximately 400 participants in recent years. As the symposium grew, it moved from smaller venues to the iWireless Center in Moline, IL, with more than 7,000 square feet of meeting space as well as an arena floor for industry displays. On average, more than 100 industry vendors participate each year with displays. Representatives have the opportunity to attend briefings and obtain information on contracting opportunities as well as sign up for one-on-one business matchmaking sessions.

From its inception, the vision and sole purpose of the symposium committee was to assist and educate small businesses to do business with the federal government, specifically the commands based on Rock Island Arsenal. The symposium is by no means the only form of outreach to small business, however.

“Outreach is performed every time we receive inquiries from small business through emails, phone calls, in person, capability presentations, conference attendance, participation in events sponsored by the procurement technical assistance centers [PTACs] in Iowa and Illinois and other events that draw small business,” said Robert Matthys, associate director of the ASC/JMC OSBP. PTACs provide expert government contracting help at little or no charge through training, one-on-one counseling, classes, seminars and matchmaking sessions, ensuring that small businesses are registered for and aware of potential government contract opportunities.

“I don’t know if we are unique in the Army, but I would say from our standpoint, we can’t accomplish our mission without small business.”

EAGLE HAS LANDED

In October 2015, ASC held an industry week that, in part, featured updates and forecasts for EAGLE contracting. The EAGLE program affords small businesses a unique opportunity: Specific Army installations in 19 different locations across the country are set aside for small business competition. Examples of potential small business contract opportunities include maintenance and field sustainment of equipment; retail and wholesale supply services; and transportation support. The program also encourages teaming arrangements and joint ventures, so businesses of various sizes can work together to provide high-quality services on larger contracts.

The EAGLE program was established in February 2012 to create a single logistics provider at each of ASC’s 71 logistics readiness centers with a contracted requirement greater than $1 million annually, combining legacy contracts that fell under various programs.

Having EAGLE as the single provider eliminates redundancy and overlap of services at each location, resulting in cost avoidance. The Army benefits by having uniformity of contracts, performance work statements, high-quality surveillance plans, solid performance requirements and better communication across the enterprise.

EAGLE allows standardization of performance work statements and greater competition among the basic ordering agreement (BOA) holders, with the goals of reducing cost and increasing small business participation. A BOA is a pool of qualified companies that can submit proposals in response to task order solicitations. EAGLE also reduces administrative contracting costs by using one acquisition strategy for multiple contracts in many locations.

During the industry week, government employees, including the ASC/JMC OSBP, met with EAGLE BOA holders—19 of the 38 in attendance represented small businesses—to engage with any industry representatives interested in government work.

A SET-ASIDE SUCCESS

A SET-ASIDE SUCCESS
An employee from the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, managed by JMC, places a fuze on the 40 mm grenade during production. The 2004 decision to acquire some of the components for the grenade from small-business machine shops was a success, and spurred further awards to small businesses from Rock Island. (Photo by Tony Lopez, JMC Public and Congressional Affairs)

During a meeting with the BOA holders, Jay Carr, executive director of ASC’s Acquisition Integration Management Directorate, said that the command manages a $2 billion budget and that 60 to 70 percent of the mission is executed through contracts.

“I don’t know if we are unique in the Army, but I would say from our standpoint, we can’t accomplish our mission without small business,” said Carr. “That’s why we ask you to provide frank feedback and comments and use this unique opportunity in this forum to address your concerns and your issues as we go forward.”

Jody Fasko, chief of the EAGLE Business Office at ASC, said EAGLE had awarded 27 task orders as of October 2015, including 15 new awards in FY15 and the reconfirmation of the Fort Benning, GA, EAGLE site award. Of those 27 awards, 20 were set aside for small business companies. “We’ve really been impacting that segment of the market,” said Fasko. “The 20 awards represent 45 percent of the total dollars we’ve awarded.”

While increasing competition by 42 percent between FY13 and FY15, EAGLE has reduced the average adjusted days to award by 40 percent, from 292 days in FY13 to 175 in FY15, which falls below the EAGLE acquisition strategy target of 180 days to award, according to Fasko.

“As we look at what the acquisition strategy called for and what we said we were going to do, which was increase competition, increase small business [use] and establish efficiencies within the logistics, supply, transportation and maintenance functions at ASC, we have done all of those things, but we have done them all with your help,” said Carr.

SERVING UP A SERVICE CONTRACT

SERVING UP A SERVICE CONTRACT
Army Sustainment Command contracts with many small businesses, including those that provide food services to Army personnel around the world. (Photo by Jon Connor, ASC Public Affairs)

CONCLUSION

In FY15, the ASC/JMC OSBP exceeded its percentage goals in all five small business categories. For that year, $916.1 million was awarded to small businesses for goods or services acquired by ASC and JMC. The awards include small disadvantaged businesses, $365.5 million; women-owned businesses, $197.8 million; Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Zone, $30.9 million; veteran-owned small businesses, $153.9 million; and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, $168 million.

Small manufacturing companies face a number of challenges to stay in business and remain competitive, including the constant pressure to grow their customer base. Also, companies often overlook or bypass opportunities in government contracting as the result of paperwork that they consider burdensome.

“If you have questions, we have answers, because small business is OUR business.” That’s the motto of the ASC/JMC OSBP. “Our office works closely with contracting to ensure all procurements give small businesses the maximum practicable opportunity to compete,” said Matthys. “We try to remove any roadblocks or barriers that may make it difficult or impossible for small businesses.”

For example, the OSBP strives to ensure that the scope of work is understandable to all small businesses. During the solicitation period, when companies can bid on a contract, the OSBP can extend the bid preparation time to allow small businesses additional time to compete.


For more information, contact the ASC/JMC OSBP at 309-782-7302 or go to http://www.aschq.army.mil/home/SmallBusiness.aspx.

MR. JUSTIN GRAFF is a public affairs specialist with ASC. He holds an M.A in business and a B.S. in audio engineering from Full Sail University.

MR. TONY LOPEZ is a public affairs specialist with JMC. He holds a B.A. in journalism from the University of Iowa.


This article was originally published in the January – March 2016 issue of Army AL&T magazine.

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