Want to work with the Pentagon? Here are 8 crucial tips to successful pitching –

Nov. 7, 2022 11:00 am
The Pentagon, the headquarters of the Department of Defense, in Arlington, Virginia.
(Photo by Flickr user gregwest98, used via a Creative Commons license)
To address this, the department is changing how it works with private companies. With the government spending nearly $400 billion on defense contracting in 2021 alone, innovators need to seriously consider if doing business with the DoD is worth another look.
It is no secret that adversaries are catching up to or surpassing the United States in developing several advanced technologies. To better integrate the various domains of intelligence, as well as innovate more overall, the department is shifting its focus to technological and intelligence collection capabilities that were underfunded or unfunded throughout the last 20 years’ counterterror campaigns. The Pentagon thus aims to acquire much of its future tech and innovation from the private sector.
The DoD is trying to attract private companies by reevaluating both its risk calculation for acquisitions and what it means for technology to be “ready” for investment. To that end, it has established organizations like the Defense Innovation Unit; the Army’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Task Force; NavalX; and the Air Force’s Tech Connect, among others, to avoid bureaucracy and help innovators more rapidly get their inventions before DoD decision makers.
These entities are streamlining the process by embracing what Gen. James C. McConville, the Army’s chief of staff, describes as a drive-before-you-buy approach to acquisitions. This allows the department to test a promising solution against actual department challenges so it can highlight gaps to bridge and strengthen its own ideas for employing the tech. Through this more collaborative approach, businesses can field-test their solutions, familiarize themselves with the DoD’s challenges and provide it a better product. This approach ensures that both the DoD and its contractors benefit from innovative interventions.
Gen. James C. McConville, chief of staff of the U.S. Army, speaks at the U.S. Military Academy. (Photo by Flickr user West Point – The U.S. Military Academy, used via a Creative Commons license)
The aforementioned organizations’ success depends upon their relationship with private industry. To take full advantage of the DoD’s efforts, a small business needs to perform well when it pitches its tech or solution to a decision-maker, program manager or acquisitions officer to pitch its technology or solution. Here are some key elements to consider in your planning, preparation and presentation that will help increase your chances of landing a DoD contract:
The suggestions outlined above are designed to reveal that successfully pitching the DoD is not that different from a convincing presentation in the private sector. That said, preparing your pitch using these directions will help you best present your solution’s benefits according to the government’s specifically articulated requirements. We hope that realizing this will encourage small companies with inventive technologies to pursue business opportunities with the DoD.


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