Pentagon officials for years have preached about the need to attract innovative, non-traditional businesses, which typically shy away from the cumbersome ways of government procurement.
But the Defense Department has yet to find an effective vehicle to communicate candidly with industry, laments Eileen Giglio, assistant deputy undersecretary of defense for business transformation. “The Defense Department is wonderful at having conferences, doing presentations, and telling industry exactly what we think and how we’re doing things,” she tells contractors. “But that doesn’t help with the dialogue and the interaction.”
Giglio is considering hosting off-the-record “industry roundtables” where there could be more forthright exchanges. “We are not doing a good job with small businesses. We need to find better ways to give them opportunities and create more interaction.” Because of legal and ethical constraints, the Defense Department could not choose which companies to invite, so it would rely on industry associations to compile the invitation lists.