Our team recently sat down with Mr. Sean Slatter, President and Chief Executive Officer of LSI, a leading government business development consulting firm, to talk about the state of the defense industry and how SMEs can best take advantage of the market. Read on below to get a glimpse of what Sean will discuss at the upcoming NH Aerospace and Defense 2019 (NHAD2019) Networking Event.
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NHADEC: What is your perspective on the overall landscape and the current opportunities and challenges within it?
Sean: I have never seen more opportunity in the DoD market than today. This is the best A&D market in my 30 year career. As an example, the FY2019 budget for offensive and defensive cybersecurity is $20 billion. There is plenty of opportunity for hardware and software related to cybersecurity.
Incredibly, the major challenge of the industry is a lack of workforce. This includes engineering, advanced manufacturing, and computer programming. The DoD installations are also suffering from a lack of skilled workforce. This is an incredible opportunity for SME contractors.
NHADEC: Where do the global primes fit into that landscape? And, how best does the region’s supply-chain support the primes?
Sean: The top five U.S. government contractors (Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman) comprise 31% of the total U.S. Federal Government Procurement. The top 100 Government contractors all need supply chain support. The supply chain has been hollowed out by several forces and cannibalized by the primes themselves.
NHADEC:What are your recommendations for SME’s to be more attractive for the Primes and the DoD?
- Get innovative – both the primes and DoD are looking for new ideas and technology
- Partner with the primes on business development (e.g., identify opportunities and contract vehicles and then invest in capturing these opportunities together with the large business)
- Create strategy for set aside opportunities (small business, 8(a), ANC, NHO, SDVOB, etc.)
NHADEC: NHADEC is focused on global sales so what is your perspective on the international market, including foreign military sales?
Sean: All of the NATO member countries are struggling to meet their 2% GDP obligation. Following last year’s NATO summit, we held a round table discussion with several NATO country representatives. They asked us where the members should invest their 2%. We suggested the countries invest in cybersecurity, infrastructure, and specific missions aligned to the NATO strategy. It is my recommendation that a company pursuing international A&D business start with the NATO member countries.
NHADEC: Tell us a bit more about LSI, your core capabilities, and what you’ll be bringing to this event?
Sean: LSI was founded in 1972. Today, we have over 1,800 people at 80 locations. Our core work is capturing new business. We work with both large and small businesses. We also work with federal, state, municipal and non-profit entities providing job creation and tax revenue via our business development methodology. I am planning to bring several near term opportunities for NHADEC’s members. I will work with the members on an initial capture strategy and plan.NHAD2019 Website