C-Suite Wednesday – Department of Defense Aims for Higher Small Business Participation

February 15, 2023

Delaney Sexton
Contributing Editor

C-Suite Wednesday – Department of Defense Aims for Higher Small Business Participation

“Small businesses occupy a central position in the American economy and way of life. They account for over ninety-nine percent of all employer firms and generate over forty-four percent of our Nation’s economic activity,” says the Department of Defense’s Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III. “Despite their significance to the defense mission, the Department of Defense has yet to utilize the full potential of small businesses. This Small Business Strategy outlines a Department-wide plan to harness the power of America’s small, innovative, and agile companies and grow their contributions to the defense mission.”

For the Department of Defense’s Small Business Strategy, it included three strategic objectives that will help them encourage more small business to work with the DoD and expand their use of small businesses.

The following includes the three strategic objectives and how they plan to achieve the objectives:

  1. Implement a unified management approach for small business programs and activities.
    a. Establish a group to integrate small business programs and activities
    b. Train and credential a unified small business professional workforce
    c. Streamline entry points and improve small business access to decision-makers
  2. Ensure the Department’s small business activities align with national security priorities.
    a. Stabilize and scale programs that help small technology and manufacturing businesses to deliver capabilities to the warfighter
    b. Utilize data tools to understand and expand small business participation and spending to ensure a robust and resilient industrial base
    c. Expand policy and process engagement of small business professional and senior leaders on small business matters
  3. Strengthen the Department’s engagement and support of small businesses.
    a. Improve outreach and communications with small businesses
    b. Provide cybersecurity training and resources to small businesses
    c. Educate small businesses on risks of foreign ownership, control, and influence

“Increasing small business participation in defense acquisitions is critical. Expanding participation will keep DoD at the forefront of innovation, while simultaneously fostering increased competition that can reduce costs for high quality capabilities,” reads the report. “It will also ensure that the Department continues to leverage the untapped potential of disadvantaged-, women-, and veteran-owned small businesses that have historically been underutilized. As the Department aims to maintain the technological edge, small businesses are key.”

U.S. Department of Defense Small Business Strategy 2023