Office of Strategic Capital: Funding Critical Technologies

-As shared by Katie Bilek

At the recent R&D Capital Summit during TechConnect World, I had the pleasure of hosting a discussion with Jared Evans, Director of the Transition Acceleration Program (TAP) at DoD’s Office of Strategic Capital (OSC).   As a cofounder and former partner at AFVentures, Jared brings an incredible perspective of scaling technology ventures to support the federal mission.

Most important to our conversation was the “why” behind the Office of Strategic Capital.  The office was established in December 2022 with the mission “to develop, integrate, and implement proven partnered capital strategies to shape and scale investment in critical technologies.”   The growing dichotomy between the Defense and commercial R&D markets over the last few decades comes as no surprise – and part of OSC’s driving force is to foster private capital investment like we saw in the era just succeeding WWII.

OSC is taking a methodical approach to sourcing and funding these mission-critical technologies.

First, they work internally with the various military services, combatant commands, stakeholders, program offices and end-users to identify critical technologies in need of investment. 14 critical technology areas have been designated via OUSD R&D under Heidi Shyu’s directive in verticals including advanced materials, microelectronics, directed energy, hypersonics, quantum science, integrated sensing and more. You can read more about the critical technology areas here.

Next, they fund. The primary vehicle they will leverage is the SBIC model – one currently in place at SBA, being replicated and modified for DoD’s deployment in the SBIC Critical Technologies (SBICCT) Initiative. (At the time of this discussion, we’re still awaiting expansion of the existing SBIC program with new proposed SBA regulations. Until that happens, existing SBIC funds may be deployed for these initiatives that qualify in support of national security).

Launched at SXSW in Austin earlier this year, SBICCT Initiative will utilize a new financial product, the Accrual Debenture. Designed to span a longer duration, interest will accumulate and come due once the loan reaches its term. This will address the “patient capital” gaps seen in sectors that require significant up-front investment.

One of the great case studies for SBICs dates back to 1975 in Cray Research – an organization that received private sector funding to develop a technology – the first supercomputer – that the Department of Defense utilized during the Cold War.  On the verge of bankruptcy, Cray’s SBIC investment served as the bridge across the Valley of Death to sustain their development of a mission-critical technology.

As OSC prepares to deploy capital, I applaud their willingness to embrace debt as a source of liquidity. So often in the innovation ecosystem, when we talk about capital, the term “equity” is thrown around loosely as a seemingly all-encompassing solution to financial problems.  While equity capital is an option, it’s not the only one.  Equity can be expensive, dilutive and often introduces a new ownership dynamic to a business that can exhaust the human element. Debt, with the right financial partner, can be more affordable, non-dilutive and patient.

The coupling of private investment with federal funding is needed to fully realize a robust R&D development pipeline that is vital to our nation’s security.  The Office of Strategic Capital is building out the financial toolset that so many innovators need – I’m looking forward to the continued collaboration between the federal and financial communities, and the ultimate success of the program.

Out-of-Office, GovCon Style

As shared by Meg O’Hara.

Managing your small business while still finding time for summer activities with your family can be challenging. The summer season is often slower for many businesses, GovCon included. However, with careful planning and effective management strategies, you can maintain and even encourage growth during this period. Today, we will explore some essential tips to help you strike a balance between work and family, ensuring that you make the most of both.

  1. Plan Ahead and Set Clear Priorities:

Effective time management starts with planning. Before the summer season begins, assess your workload and identify any potential gaps or slowdowns. Use this time to plan strategically for the coming months and set clear priorities. Determine which projects or tasks require immediate attention and focus your energy on completing them efficiently. By having a well-structured plan, you can optimize your productivity while creating space for family activities.

  1. Delegate and Outsource:

One of the keys to managing your small business effectively is learning to delegate tasks that can be handled by others. Identify non-critical activities that can be outsourced to freelancers, virtual assistants, or subcontractors. Delegating such tasks not only frees up your time but also allows you to concentrate on core business activities that require your expertise. By sharing the workload, you can ensure that your business remains operational while you enjoy quality time with your family. If you need outsourcing recommendations, don’t hesitate to ask **, we know people.

  1. Embrace Technology:

Leveraging technology can significantly enhance your productivity and efficiency as a government contractor. Invest in project management tools (we use HeyOrca for social planning), time-tracking software, and collaboration platforms that streamline your workflow. These digital solutions enable you to monitor project progress, communicate with your team, and manage tasks remotely. By embracing technology, you can remain connected to your business while enjoying the flexibility to participate in summer activities with your loved ones.

  1. Nurture Relationships with Existing Clients:

During slower periods, focus on nurturing your relationships with existing clients. Check in with them, provide updates on ongoing projects, and explore opportunities for future collaboration. By maintaining regular communication, you demonstrate your commitment to their success and foster loyalty. Additionally, satisfied clients are more likely to recommend your services to others, expanding your network and potential business opportunities. Additionally, we’d also recommend checking out local summer industry and networking events. Attending the ones you can will help to keep you top of mind with industry partners, as well as current, and potential clients. Shameless plug here: if you’re a government contractor we’d love to have you at our June 14th Prime Another Day Networking Event in Virginia. You can find the details to register here. 

  1. Diversify Your Services or Seek New Contracts:

Summer can present an opportunity to diversify your service offerings or explore new contracts. Analyze current market trends and identify areas where your expertise can be leveraged beyond your current projects. Research government agencies or sectors that are in high demand during the summer months and align your business accordingly. By expanding your services or exploring new contracts, you can minimize the impact of the slower season and stimulate growth.

  1. Invest in Professional Development:

Use the relatively slower period to invest in your professional development for you and your team. Attend industry conferences, workshops, or training programs that can enhance your skills and knowledge. By staying up-to-date with the latest developments in your field, you position yourself as an expert and open doors to new business opportunities. Additionally, ongoing learning can provide fresh perspectives and innovative ideas that contribute to the growth and success of your small business.

  1. Take Time for Yourself and Your Family:

Remember that a healthy work-life balance is crucial for your overall well-being and the success of your small business. Schedule regular time for yourself and your family to relax and recharge. Unplug (no really, mute teams and your email) from work and engage in activities that bring you joy and strengthen your personal relationships. By prioritizing quality time with your loved ones, you not only create cherished memories but also return to your business with renewed energy and focus.


Managing a small business as a government contractor while enjoying summer activities with your family requires effective planning, delegation, and embracing technology. By setting clear priorities, nurturing client relationships, diversifying services, and investing in professional development, you can maintain and encourage growth even during slower business seasons. Remember to find a healthy balance between work and family, as taking time for yourself and your loved ones is essential for long-term success and happiness.

CEOs You Should Know

-As shared by M&T Bank on iHeart Radio


What is CUI: Controlled Unclassified Information

-As shared by Derek White, Chief Product Officer, Cuick Trac

Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) is information that requires special handling, protection and dissemination controls even though it isn’t classified information.

These security controls protect the data’s integrity privacy, and are essential practices for contractors handling this type of information.

Possible consequences of failing to protect CUI include fines, losing the opportunity to win new Department of Defense (DoD) contracts and loss of current contracts.

These penalties can occur when a contractor fails to show proof of compliance during independent third party audits from the likes of customers, the Defense Contracting Management Agency (DCMA) DIBCAC team and eventually Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) assessment from Certified 3rd Party Organizations (C3PAOs), which have requirements that continue to evolve.

Contractors who say they are compliant, but haven’t fully implemented NIST SP 800-171 requirements may not be in compliance with DFARS 252.204-7012, which regulates the treatment of CUI by contractors.

Schedule a free consultation with our cybersecurity experts if you need to be DFARS 252.204-7012, 7019 and 7020 compliant.

Avoid fines or the loss of contract by implementing all the NIST 800-171 controls.

A brief history of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)


The DoD released DoD Instruction (DoDI) 5200.48 on March 6, 2020, which includes the requirements for DoD contractors for CUI in section 5.3. This section describes the following activities with respect to CUI:

  • Identification
  • Protection
  • Monitoring
  • Review
  • Disposition

The DoD must identify whether the information it provides to contractors is CUI through the contracting vehicle.

It must also mark these documents, media or other material in accordance with DoD Instruction 5200.48.

Any contract, grant or other legal agreement between the DOD and non-DOD entity must specify the dissemination controls and other measures needed to protect CUI related to the contract.

This requirement applies to CUI that the DoD provides to the contractor and CUI that the contractor generates to meet the terms of the contract.

DoD contractors must monitor their aggregation and compilation of CUI based on its potential for generating classified information. This requirement is pursuant to existing security guidance on the accumulation of unclassified information.

DoD contracts must require contractors to report the potential classification of the CUI they handle to a DoD representative.

DoD personnel and contractors must un-classify information for review and approval prior to release according to required contract provisions.

These reviews must be in accordance with DoDI 5230.09 and standard DoD component processes.

The disposition of CUI must be in accordance with the appropriate disposition authority.

This requirement applies whether the DoD provides the CUI to the contractor or the contractor generates it, as specified by Sections 1220 to 1236 of Title 36, CFR, Section 3301a of Title 44, U.S.C.

What is CUI/CDI/CTI?


CUI is an umbrella term that includes both Covered Defense Information (CDI) and Control Technical Information (CTI).

These markings all apply to unclassified information that requires specific protection in and out of a government information system.

Previous markings, used to identify this type of information, information include For Official Use Only (FOUO), Law Enforcement Sensitive (LES), Sensitive but Unclassified (SBU) and Unclassified Controlled Technical Information (UCTI). The CUI marking now encompasses all of these terms.

The CUI program was originally developed for agencies within the executive branch of the US federal government.

Each of these agencies initially used their own set of rules, markings and classifications to manage and control this information before the current CUI program was implemented, which greatly simplified this process.

CTI is technical information with a military or space application, and must be marked with a distribution statement in accordance with DoDI 5230.24 (Distribution Statements on Technical Documents). This information requires the same level of protection as any other CUI content, although it does have specific requirements for marking and tracking.

The controlling DOD office is generally responsible for determining when information is CTI and appropriately marking it before allowing contractors access to it.

In a case where the contractor develops unclassified CTI during the course of working on the contract, the contractor must work with its contracting officer to complete the steps required for properly protecting this information.

These steps include completing appropriate forms such as distribution and work statements for each piece of content.

Hundreds of laws and regulations specify the required procedures for controlling CUI. DoD contractors should begin their education on this topic by reviewing the government’s marking guidance to ensure they properly identify CUI.

The best way to determine the requirements for a specific type of CUI is to search the CUI Registry, which contains a complete list of the CUI categories.

This document contains 24 categories and 83 sub categories, each of which is defined as CUI Basic or CUI Specified.

CUI Basic specifies the baseline controls for handling and disseminating CUI. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) issued the Final Rule on November 14, 2016, which describes CUI Basic.

The Federal Information Systems Modernization Act (FISMA) requires CUI Basic to be protected at FISMA’s Moderate level.

It may be marked as either CUI or Controlled. Agencies can’t increase the external impact of CUI Basic above this level without an agreement with the external agency or contracting organization operating an information system on their behalf.

CUI Specified is a CUI subset that places more restrictive controls on the handling and control of CUI.

The underlying authority maintains the controls for handling CUI Specified content, but only the designating agency may apply limited dissemination controls to any CUI content. Common categories for the CUI Specified subsets include the following:

  • Agriculture
  • Critical Infrastructure
  • Emergency Management
  • Export Control
  • Financial
  • Geodetic Product Information
  • Immigration
  • Information Systems Vulnerability Information
  • Intelligence
  • International Agreements
  • Law Enforcement
  • Legal
  • Natural and Cultural Resources
  • NATO Controlled
  • Nuclear
  • Patent
  • Privacy
  • Procurement and Acquisition
  • Proprietary Business Information
  • SAFETY Act Information
  • Statistical
  • Tax
  • Transportation

CUI agreements may take a variety of specific forms, including contracts, grants, information-sharing agreements, licenses and memoranda of agreement.

It’s essential for contractors to understand the data they may create and its implication before entering any agreement to perform work for the government.

In particular, contractors need to know the requirements for protecting the data they’ll be creating and handling, along with the costs of that protection.

Why am I required to protect CUI/CDI/CTI as a defense contractor?


Contractors who are new to working for the DoD often wonder who is responsible for CUI and why they’re required to protect it.

The short answer is that many malicious actors such as countries, companies and individuals have incentives to obtain this information, which can harm national security.

The rate of corporate and state espionage is at an all-time high, so these incidents make headlines regularly. Basic hacking also occurs routinely, resulting in compromise of sensitive information.

CUI doesn’t exist only on government systems, as it can be found on many IT infrastructures across the entire Defense Industrial Base (DIB).

Many of these infrastructures aren’t up to the task of properly managing the CUI that the government has entrusted them with, and government investigations have identified the lack of security as a primary factor in many security breaches.

The CUI/DFARS 7012 programs were thus established to standardize security controls across the DIB, improving the protection of information security for both government and commercial infrastructures.

Contractors need to properly identify and classify data already on their systems before they bid on a government contract.

This practice helps contractors ensure they have allowed enough profit margin in their calculations to implement the controls in their information systems that will be needed to protect CUI to the required standards.

The introduction of the DFARS rule is in the process of establishing a new form of accuracy that will provide a numerical score indicating the contractor’s compliance when protecting CUI.

This score will help determine if the contractor will be able to win new DoD contracts. (Learn more about the DFARS Interim Rule & Supplier Performance Risk System (SPRS) Score here).

Do I have CUI/CDI/CTI data in my IT System?


Contractors need to know if they have CUI data on their information systems due to the strong requirements for protecting this type of data. The DoD routinely includes a DFARS 7012 clause in its contract, which states that contractor being awarded that contract, is going to be handling CUI, and therefore needs to meeting the cybersecurity requirements in order to do so.

However, in many cases, the contractor may have CUI due to its broad definition, which includes information that the contractor stores, processes, or transmits on behalf of the government as part of fulfilling a contract.

In practice, all DoD contractors with a DFARS 252.204-7012 clause in their contract should expect to have some CUI in their infrastructure.

Common types of CUI include data about information systems’ vulnerabilities. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is another type of CUI, provided the government owns the data.

Assume for this example that the contract is to process benefits for government customers, requiring them to maintain PII on those customers. In this case, the PII would qualify as CUI.

CUI also includes technical information, research data, drawings, specifications, standards, process sheets and reports. Information on specific parts or materials such as orders, identification numbers and analyses are also CTI.

Additional forms of CTI include executable and source code for software. This explanation should make clear that any technical work that results in the creation or transmission of information potentially qualifies as CTI.

How do I protect CUI/CDI/CTI data?


DFARS 252.204-7012 provides lane markers that specify the types of controls needed to protect CUI/CDI content.

These include an on-premises data center for all of a contractor’s internal IT systems.

A cloud service provider (CSP) can also meet this requirement, as long as it can demonstrate that it meets the requirements the contractor is inheriting from them.

A hybrid or private cloud solution that uses both on-premises and CSP solutions can also fulfill the requirements of DFARS 252.204-7012.

All of these solutions require the contractor to address the 110 security controls, along with the practice objectives, in NIST SP 800-171, which requires a Plan of Actions and Milestones (POAM) and a System Security Plan (SSP).

Contractors that serve the DIB historically used local data centers to manage their data. At that time, a local data center was considered to be more physically secure than one in a remote location.

The physical proximity of a local data center may provide a false sense of security since modern infrastructure requires multiple layers of physical and logical security with greater responsibilities of administrators to maintain firewalls and software patches.

Enterprises typically have the staff and training needed to maintain the security of an on-premise data center to meet the needs of government contracts in controlling data.

However, smaller contractors are typically unable to afford the capital expenditure needed to replace hardware that doesn’t meet the needs of CUI.

Contractors should also review the operational expenses of maintaining a data center that meets the increasing needs of CUI for each new contract.

Outsourced enclaves are an option for organizations of all sizes, since it allows them to offload the responsibility for administration and physical security of the infrastructure storing and processing CUI, onto the provider.

Compliance with CUI requirements may also be more affordable with an enclave or MSSPs since it eliminates the need for the capital investment in hardware and physical security of the system containing CUI.

Regardless of the type of infrastructure contractors use, they still need to ensure that their operating environment is meeting FedRAMP Moderate or equivalent requirements. Furthermore, they must protect that environment with the 110 security controls in NIST SP 800-171.

The decision to protect CUI with an on-premises data center, outsourced enclave, or MSSPs should be part of a contractor’s overall strategy when proposing a DoD contract, whether it’s as a prime contractor or subcontractor.

Compliance with the requirements of DFARS 7012 and NIST SP 800-171 will ensure that the contractor understands both the short-term capital investments and long-term operational expenses of its proposed business strategy for ensuring the security of CUI.

The Cuick Trac secure virtual environment was purpose-built, to align with and build upon the compliance strategy of your business.

Whether DoD contracts are 100% of your business revenues or 5%, Cuick Trac is the practical solution for your business.

Make Cuick Trac part of your strategy for protecting CUI.

Schedule your free consultation today to learn more about how you can become DFARS 252.204-7012, 7019 and 7020 compliant.

You can reach Cuick Trac at 612-428-3008 or by filling out a contact form online.


Sea, Air, Space | Conference Matchmaking Report

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a govmates matchmaking in DC! The Sea Air Space 2023 matchmaking event brought together 23 large systems integrators, defense primes, and government agencies and 84 small businesses, non-traditional defense contractors, and academia to discuss their capabilities and explore potential partnerships. The event was held over two hours and featured 152 meetings between companies specializing in a wide range of areas, including artificial intelligence, MBSE, advanced manufacturing, precision machining, enterprise IT, simulation, hardware components, and more. 

The matchmaking event was a great success, with many organizations finding opportunities to collaborate to pursue federal contracts. The participating defense primes were particularly interested in the advanced manufacturing capabilities of the small businesses, with many exploring ways to incorporate precision machining and hardware components into their production processes. 

Artificial intelligence and MBSE were also hot topics, with many buyers looking for innovative ways to incorporate these technologies into their existing systems. The sellers were able to showcase their expertise in these areas and provide valuable insights into how their solutions could be integrated into the buyers’ operations. We love to see collaborative discussions.  

Overall, the Sea Air Space 2023 matchmaking event provided a valuable platform for organizations to connect and explore potential partnerships. The high number of meetings and the diverse range of capabilities on display demonstrated the significant interest in these areas and the potential for exciting new collaborations to emerge. The event was a resounding success, and we look forward to seeing the partnerships and innovations that will emerge as a result of these connections. 

Why Capital is America’s Differentiating Asset

-As shared by Katie Bilek

The December launch of the Office of Strategic Capital by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is an initiative that seeks to harness the power of American capital markets in support of our national security. The role of private capital in US DoD projects is a differentiating factor in what can tip the scale in our admittedly precarious geopolitical stance.

For the last few decades, we’ve witnessed the gradual decoupling of the defense markets and commercial R&D.  Our leaders and policymakers look back upon great historical examples of government and industry collaborating together – Skunk Works! IBM Research! Raytheon BBN! – where both government and private funds were leveraged to build incredible technologies.

At present, we lack that same level of collaboration and financial commitment from the private sector with government. Only the most basic understanding of economics is required to grasp why the average small business choses to pursue commercial work that generates higher margins in a shorter timeframe than defense work that could take years to secure (and additional compliance dollars to execute). Meanwhile, investment firms boast record fundraising levels, newly minted funds, and profuse amounts of dry powder ready to be put to use.

At a recent OTA educational event hosted by govmates and ATI | Advanced Technology International, we covered a key point that so many of these talking heads seem to be missing – the need for fund managers to generate returns for shareholders.  Simply put, financial investors operate a business where returns to shareholders take priority – not national defense. While it can be a concurrent interest and one that they passionately support, financial performance dictates their existence, period.

America has the most robust capital market system in the world. We have regulatory bodies who are increasingly willing to intervene in the interest of national security (i.e., the potential delisting of Chinese ADRs). We have infrastructure and distribution channels that enable all types of investors – from institutional to retail – to deploy capital and engage in the financial markets. We have technological advancements that bring heightened levels of transparency and transactional speed.   And we have the dependable appetite for returns that will always drive investors to seek that next opportunity.

My career on Wall Street gave me a front-row seat to the extreme velocity and volume of capital in our financial markets.   Capital can support the creation of new products, facilitate entry into new markets, provide the currency for acquisitions, and so much more.  Capital – simply put – is an asset unmatched by other nations.  It is time that the DoD learned to harness its transformative power to support the mission in a way that can benefit us all.

OTAs | Why They Work

-As shared by Meg O’Hara

In the innovation space, it’s no secret that many developing technologies are created outside of the Federal ecosystem. In fact, some of the most forward-thinking technology is housed solely within the commercial space. As that is the case, how can the government discover, adapt, and deploy new solutions without sacrificing risk-mitigation?  You guessed it, OTAs. Other Transaction Agreements are what we in the business like to call a form of “alternative procurement vehicles,” which is a fancy way of saying another method to get Federal backing for researching and developing innovative solutions. Sounds like an absolute win, right? But how does it work?  

The OTA process is designed to be more streamlined when it comes to solicitation requirements and the businesses that are competing for those opportunities. For government entities with a portfolio of needs, of the OTA consortium model is a great model to enable them to meet their R&D requirements in an efficient manner. Each agency with OTA authority has a number of specific consortia through which they are able to feed technology-vertical-specific requirements for proposals. Think of it as fishing in a large lake – if I’m only fishing for bluegill, why would I want to waste my bait (resources) and time catching a bunch of trout? I wouldn’t, right? So, in a similar way – within the research and development process of defining new solutions to innovation-heavy challenges, it makes sense to go directly to the groups that know and do that type of solutioning best. Hence, the need for technology-specific consortiums.  

The OTA process works because CMFs (Consortium Management Firms) take on administrative burdens from the government that result in a more streamlined experience for small and non-traditional businesses. It also mitigates the risk to the government of working with new-to-the-Federal-landscape businesses by having a guide (the CMF) who knows the arena, the regulations, and the requirements of Federal procurement. Additionally, and probably most importantly of all, it allows new technologies to make their way into the hands of the end users who need them most to keep our country working at a high level of defense and breakthroughs.  

We’re not saying that OTAs are the only way to mitigate risk or allow non-traditionals the opportunity to work in the Federal space. But they do provide a legal framework that enables fair, rapid procurement for R&D or prototyping needs. If you are, or know of a non-traditional business that may be able to bring their technology to our warfighters in a way that promotes safety, protection, and the ability to perform their duties at a high level, we welcome a conversation with you. You can reach out to govmates on LinkedIn or directly to our team at Furthermore, if you’d like a few specific examples of businesses that have found OTA success, we have several examples that we’d be happy to share.  

If you take one thing from this piece, I hope that it’s to know that innovation is alive and well within the bridge between commercial and federal businesses – and that bridge is OTAs.  

MedTech and the DoD

-As shared by Hannah Altman

Medical innovations can be transformative. As such, since the onset of COVID-19, there has been a renewed interest in public health technology. Here at govmates, we have hundreds of members on the cutting edge of medical technology. Let’s talk about three emerging innovations and what they can do for the warfighter and the DOD as a whole.

  • TBI Research and Treatment 

Service members are one of the most at-risk groups for suffering long-term mental or physical health effects due to a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). While the majority are mild – a concussion – a TBI of any severity will increase a person’s risk of health complications. TBIs are also linked to a higher risk of death by suicide, and more long-term effects are being discovered at present. The U.S. government is investing in research and treatment that can prevent, treat, or mitigate the impacts of a TBI.  They are investing in companies like InfraScan, whose Near-Infrared (NIR) technology screens patients for intracranial bleeding, identifying those who would most benefit from immediate referral to a CT scan and neurosurgical intervention. Or non-profits like The Invictus Project, whose personalized treatment protocols aim to target symptoms of TBIs as well as PTSD. Prevention and treatment of traumatic brain injuries is a top priority for the DOD; we will hopefully see more potential solutions come to fruition as the government continues funding its TBI research.  

  • Drug Production and Delivery 

Pharmaceutical science is expanding and developing as fast as any field. Scientists are figuring out ways to make drugs last longer, produce fewer side effects, and further improve patient outcomes. Like Consegna Pharma, a specialty pharmaceutical company that reformulates known, safe drugs, and creates long-acting injectable (LAI) medications that can last from days to months. Or TFF Pharmaceuticals, whose proprietary Thin Film Freezing technology can safely turn medicines into powder, eliminating the need for injections. There are also companies working to create entirely new solutions. BrYet Pharma is developing drugs for the prevention, treatment, and cure of metastatic cancers using nanoporous silicon microparticles. Whether it is creating something new or improving an existing product, the advancements in drug production and delivery cannot be understated.

  • Next-Gen Devices and Therapeutics 

Innovations in technology have changed the way we use medical devices and therapeutics. Emerging technology makes medicine less invasive, easier to use, and more cost-effective. For example, Qidni Labs has created a process for dialysis that can operate without a power outlet and without purified water. NuShores Biosciences is using their patented technology to regenerate tissue and compensate for major bone loss while reducing the need for autografts and allografts.  Sonix Medical Device’s technology can help prevent bacterial infections and combat Antimicrobial Resistance without the use of antibiotics. With the right R&D, these technologies can help the warfighter perform necessary procedures in an austere environment, reduce recovery time, and improve recovery times.  


The above represent just a few of the priorities we have seen in the defense space over the past few years. I personally look forward to seeing where medical technology investments are being made in the future, as it will positively impact civilians and the general public for years and years to come.  

Why is Dual Use Technology So Important?

-As shared by Katie Bilek

As it pertains to our federal ecosystem, the concept of dual use technology seems desirable.  What’s not to like? Building and creating a mutually beneficial technology or product leveraging economies of scale while enabling the performer to forgo the typical mind-numbing bureaucracy that ensues when doing business with the government seems like a definite win, right? 

The argument for fostering and perpetuating more dual use technologies in the federal community is an economic one, appealing to the stingiest of taxpayers and tip-of-the-spear operators alike.   For those stakeholders, program offices, and end users, the shared investment in R&D spreads the cost of the project while enabling them to take advantage of competitive requirements generated by the open market.  For the company that owns the technology, a commercially viable product that generates revenue independent of federal customer demand provides diversification, reducing concentration risk and reliance on a single customer.  

For decades, the US Federal government has limited its pool of eligible contractors by gradually imposing regulations and business practices on its contracting community that result in a specialized, expensive, and seemingly heavily regulated marketplace.  While our contractor community has evolved into a robust group of organizations that passionately support the mission (and they do a damn good job at it!), we must also applaud their ability to adeptly maneuver the federal procurement environment with pricey CAS accounting systems, endless patience for federal lead times, and a vocabulary of acronyms that could qualify as its own language.   They know the rules of the game, and they know how to play it – which means those who don’t have the rulebook are inevitably excluded from participating at all.  

While the nature of the federal space ensures the US government has access to organizations that can comply with all of their administrative and technical requirements, that does not necessarily ensure access to the best technology.   Technology development has continued to outpace the government, with DoD’s share of the R&D funding market significantly eclipsed by other funding sources.  

These comments are in no way intended to diminish the accomplishments and work of traditional defense contractors. Rather, I embrace the collaborative approach to funding dual-use technologies that can serve both defense and commercial missions.   When done correctly, this can help to accelerate development, reduce costs, and simultaneously encourage new entrants to the federal marketplace.  In our current era, let’s just hope that’s something we can all agree on.   

Teaming in GovCon: Why Does It Matter?

-As shared by Stephanie Alexander

Government contracting is all about inherently helping the US government solve its problems. Those problems are solved using taxpayer dollars, and therefore there is a higher accountability than in other industries. This underlying truth is the basis of all things in GovCon.

With this truth comes the realization that most companies cannot do everything. They cannot solve every problem (at least in a timely and cost-effective manner). Nor should they solve every problem. There are other companies that can excel in a solution that your company may not. Enter…TEAMING.

At its foundation, teaming is a win for the government and therefore, the taxpayer, if done correctly (yup, that’s a big caveat). Teaming allows the best people to solve the problems. Teaming allows for different perspectives and different skill sets and for the utilization of small businesses. When done correctly, it provides a faster solution than what the original bidder may have suggested. It may also solve the problem at a cheaper price to the government, which we know is a major bonus.

So, why are companies sometimes reluctant to team? One reason is that it’s always good to be prime. Primes control the relationship with the customer.  Primes control the administration of the contract and sometimes, primes control the rates. Control always feels good. Except that the prime company may end up being more profitable if they utilized a sub that was faster or used less expensive staff.  Your company may not be able to hit the target delivery dates from the customer without adding the additional gas that is a robust team.

Another reluctance is a lack of knowledge about who is out there in the space with the capabilities you need. Luckily, that’s easily solved with a quick email to govmates (just ask us – happy to connect you!).

Where I think teaming gets a bad name is if you view it as only fulfilling a contractual obligation. It feels dirty when we talk about “I’ll give you 49% of the work.” Or if you are only hitting checkboxes to hit compliance on your subcontracting plan.

Think of teaming as enhancing your win probability, enhancing your past performance, enhancing your companies’ capabilities and further, setting your company up for long term mutually beneficial relationships. Work with people you trust and that have similar approaches to pricing and will put in the work.

For those that refuse to team, wanting only to prime, I’ve always said – “ain’t too proud to cash a check.” Who cares if you are subbing? You are paying your folks, solving problems and gaining valuable past performance. You have a higher p-win with a team approach most of the time. Not to mention, a percentage of something is a heck of a lot better than 100% of nothing.

So, ego aside, teaming is the approach to take if you’re looking to build past performance and healthy business relationships. Just be sure to come through with your contracted obligations. They say “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and it surely wasn’t built by only one person. We have our own “Rome” here in industry. Team together, work together, grow together. Teaming is the name of the GovCon game.

Looking for a partner or capabilities to round out your team? Reach out to us at govmates – we are happy to help.