Agility, partnerships highlighted at industry event

  • Published
  • By Kendahl Johnson
  • Kirtland Air Force Base Public Affairs
Businesses received insight into more than 400 opportunities worth $12.2 billion at the annual Briefing for Industry Aug. 17-19 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

BFI provides information to the government contracting community on upcoming and proposed acquisitions from the many and varied federal organizations operating in New Mexico. The event is sponsored by the nonprofit Professional Aerospace Contractors Association of New Mexico, led by Ron Unruh.

"It was a huge success," Unruh said. "It's a very unique event where networking venues are created and there are opportunities for dialogue between companies and those with contract opportunities."

More than 26 federal agencies presented their upcoming opportunities, including small business innovative research projects, broad agency announcements and major acquisitions.

BFI provides a forum for potential bidders to gain knowledge and insight for a successful bid and offers opportunities to speak directly with the presenters about their programs. Air Force Research Laboratory officials called BFI one of the laboratory's key industry outreach events to share a diverse portfolio of opportunities to help address the Air Force's technical challenges.

Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello, the commander of AFRL at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and opening keynote speaker, told guests the theme of AFRL's presentations at the event were that the Air Force and the Defense Department needs to do things faster and better than ever before.

"We have to shake things up," he said. "We can no longer be business as usual. Just because we've had technological superiority for the past 20 years doesn't mean that we'll continue to have it."

Masiello said the U.S. is facing competition in research and development from potential adversaries, who have been making progress toward leveling the playing field. Space, cyber and the electromagnetic spectrum are increasingly contested.

"Our enemies have the ability to challenge us in ways that were never possible before," he said. "Our greatest challenge is to be able to respond faster than our adversaries. We have to adapt and be flexible."

The general emphasized partnerships with large and small businesses and universities, and leveraging science and systems engineering as a path to deliver advanced Air Force capabilities while lowering life cycle costs.

There were more than 430 registered attendees at the event, representing 26 different states. Unruh said plans are to continue to grow and expand the annual conference.