Avascent Europe’s Katerina Wright and Avascent US’ Aleksandar Jovovic collaborated to produce “Opportunities Abound in NATO Defense Market” published in National Defense‘s January edition. Their article offers an increasingly rare report of good news per defense spending, specific to NATO’s future plans. The NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA) and the NATO Support Agency (NSPA) are particularly promising buyers in the years to come; together they “managed more than 24,000 contracts valued at more than $2.85 billion in 2012.” The NCIA alone plans to spend $1.3 billion + over the next two years, and under NCIA, communications infrastructure will drive approximately $1.1 billion in future purchases. Meanwhile, small-scale programs focused on cloud computing security, mobile device security, malware analysis, and cyber-intelligence, will offer additional opportunities for specialized firms. These are not the only areas open for business; information-technology modernization offers $240 million over 5 years, while command and control is investing in chemical and biological defenses, as well as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, just to name a few.
The challenges for companies looking to sell to NATO come in navigating recent mergers of various departments, due to re-organization efforts. Short term issues will include “gaps in cohesion and communication across program areas,” which can result in the slowdown of authorizations, not to mention delays in requests for proposals and bid awards. Patience is key. Regardless, NATO’s recent adoption of “best value” over “lowest cost, technically compliant” contracting has intensified the global competition among the 10,000 firms registered with NATO. “To best position within NATO, primes and their partners must demonstrate and ensure interoperability in theater.”
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