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American Forces Press Service (Dec. 12, 2005): small defense firms provide big support for warfighters.

WASHINGTON -- The Defense Department does much business with large companies, yet smaller firms also make big contributions that help U.S. warfighters accomplish their missions, a senior DoD official said Dec. 12.

In fact, small businesses accounted for about 23 percent of all contracts awarded by DoD in fiscal 2004, said Frank M. Ramos, director of the department's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization. DoD awarded nearly $47 billion in contracts to small businesses in fiscal 2004--a record, Ramos said.

"I'm so impressed in the four years that I've been here of the value and the innovation that small businesses have brought to the forefront--just huge," Ramos said at the conclusion of the 2004 Small Business Awards ceremony honoring DoD's military and civilian acquisition specialists in the Pentagon.

For example, Ramos said, small defense contractors have up-armored Humvees, provided ceramic plating for antiballistic vests, and developed the hand-held language-translation device that's used by servicemembers serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the world.

Keynote speaker Kenneth J. Krieg, under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, praised the awardees.

"You, the award winners, have set the standard for innovation, reasonable and intelligent risk-taking," Krieg said, "and that dogged persistence to achieve."

It's important that DoD seeks out ideas from small businesses, Krieg said, since they make up such a large portion of the U.S. economy. In fact, small businesses with fewer than 500 employees employ 52 percent of all American workers, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

"Our small business partners can help us fill gaps in our skill sets," Krieg said, "and also bring a more entrepreneurial spirit to the department."

Air Force civilian Elizabeth A. Bryant, a small business adviser at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., was recognized under the Individual Achievement category--Small Business Specialist of the Year--for doubling her unit's small business contract awards since fiscal 2002.

"I think it's important to DoD to show that small business is capable beyond such a small, confining word as 'small,'" Bryant said. "They are extraordinary in so very many ways.

"This is not an award for me," Bryant said. "This is an award for all the strong, capable small businesses out there."

Other recipients of DoD's 2004 awards were:

Individual Achievement

* Reinette Alecozay, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, Small Business Contracting Professional of the Year

* U.S. Army Maneuver Ammunition Systems Team: Col. Mark Rider, Bill Sanville, Robert Crawford, Lt. Col. Matt Butler, Robert Kowalski, Mary Crosson, Maj. Bruce Floersheim, and Kimberly Ritacco, Small Business Program Manager of the Year.

Strategic Management System Awards

* U.S. Army, Outstanding Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Program

* Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Outstanding Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Program

* U.S. Army, Outstanding Historically Underutilized Business Zone Program

* Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Outstanding HUBZone Program

* Defense Logistics Agency, Outstanding Support of Women-Owned Small Businesses in DoD Acquisition

* Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Outstanding Support of Women-Owned Small Businesses in DoD Acquisition

* U.S. Air Force, Overall Outstanding Small Business Program Award

* Defense Intelligence Agency, Overall Outstanding Small Business Program Award.

Additional information on the Department of Defense Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization programs is available at <>.
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Title Annotation:Acquisition & Logistics Excellence
Author:Gilmore, Gerry J.
Publication:Defense AT & L
Date:Mar 1, 2006
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