Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Defense team at work in Washington

About 70 local business and community leaders are in the nation’s capital this week for the annual Washington Legislative Action Mission, organized by the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. The mission is divided into five teams: business, defense, homeland security, international affairs and education/health care. Here is a report e-mailed from Brian Binn, president of the chamber’s military affairs division, on the defense team’s activities Tuesday:

The defense team traveled to the Pentagon for informative briefings on the America Supports You program, the “Why We Serve” Department of Defense speakers program, and the Army’s top priority program for the future combat force - Future Combat Systems Brigade Combat Team.

The America Supports You program is a Department of Defense program recognizing citizens’ support for our military and communicating that support to members of our Armed Forces and their families, at home and abroad. It’s a one-stop location for our military and their families to find hundreds of support organizations eager to help our heroes when they need it most. There are over 300 home front groups, representing communities from coast to coast, which have provided over $4.5M in direct financial support, over 9,000 free airline tickets to hospitalized service members and their families, and many other types of support services.

The DoD speakers program, “Why We Serve,” helps tell the story of why our men and women in uniform have chosen to serve. These volunteers from all our services spend about six months traveling to a wide demographic of audiences.

The Future Combat Systems Brigade Combat Team now being developed and tested under the auspices of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command will revolutionize the Army’s combat systems and force capabilities for the future. Multiple mission vehicle systems, designed around a common chassis, with hemispherical automatic defensive capabilities, a centralized network information center, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) systems of varying size and capability, stand-alone sensors and other components are the basics of the FCS BCT.

In the afternoon, representatives from the Colorado Springs SCORE office, Small Business Development Center and the Chamber of Commerce Business and Military Affairs Divisions visited the Defense Logistics Agency at Fort Belvoir to discuss the start-up of a Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) in El Paso County. Such a center, funded through a DLA grant and community matching funds, would provide a valuable resource to small and large businesses requiring assistance understanding the complexities and requirements to compete and do business with federal, state or local governments. In many cases this would relate to the growing and diverse number of companies that rely on defense contracts within our region. Our goal is to apply to establish a regional PTAC in the spring of 2008. This year’s efforts will be to prepare the proposal and seek matching funding for the grant.

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