NDIA PERSPECTIVE BUSINESS TRENDS

Introducing the NDIA Business Institute

7/6/2021
By Hawk Carlisle

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In national defense, education and training play a key role in determining success or failure. The outcomes of battles and wars often hinge on critical pieces of information, who learns it, who learns it first, and who leverages it first to gain advantage.

The U.S. military understands the importance of education and training, and it offers a broad range of opportunities in these areas for uniformed and civilian personnel to ensure effective decision-making and operations during volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous situations.

As we move into a new era of peer competition, the defense industrial base also requires a broad range of education and training opportunities so it can continue to provide weapon systems, sustainment, training and other support to ensure U.S. advantage in any situation.

The National Defense Industrial Association is proud to announce the NDIA Business Institute as a new hub for defense-related education, training and professional development. The BI aims to build a more capable and effective defense industrial base, bridging the knowledge gap that too often separates government from the private sector. It seeks to amplify and complement current educational offerings within the defense ecosystem to allow NDIA to engage sections of the DIB previously unable to access quality information on how to do business most effectively with government customers.

As with all NDIA programming, the Business Institute will provide an ethical forum for collaboration and communication between various sectors of industry, government and academia. We believe all stakeholders, especially our warfighters, benefit from this cross-pollination of ideas, best practices and experiences, provided through structured courses taught by subject matter experts.

NDIA is an educational nonprofit, and the Business Institute naturally extends NDIA’s existing means and ends. The BI’s operating principles match NDIA’s commitment to convene legal, ethical forums with warfighters as the primary beneficiary of a healthy defense industrial base.

We will provide high quality education and training, practical to participants’ demands and jobs, developed through collaboration with recognized expert partners, and delivered efficiently in terms of time and expense.

Additionally, NDIA believes diversity marks a robust and healthy industrial base, one which is built from a diverse range of locations, perspectives, approaches, sectors, leaders and sizes that drive innovation for the nation’s defense. However, innovative companies are often discouraged from joining the DIB, or endure unnecessarily high costs of entry due to the higher-than-average base level of knowledge and certifications required to effectively compete for, win, and deliver on government contracts. We seek to lower these barriers and provide an on-ramp for those individuals and companies looking to work in the defense sector.

NDIA will offer courses on topics key to our traditional constituents and new entrants, as well as courses on emerging topics and issues attractive to all stakeholders within the defense ecosystem. Our 27 divisions cover the breadth of sectors that comprise the DIB, and our 30 chapters cover the country from coast to coast. Small businesses make up 78 percent of our membership, uniquely positioning NDIA to respond to defense industrial base educational and training requirements across all sizes, sectors and regions.

Our diversity allows NDIA to recognize and prioritize educational, training and professional development requirements across the broad spectrum of DIB companies, including nontraditional participants in national security. And we will make the courses open and available to NDIA members and non-members. By reaching a wider audience, courses offered by the Business Institute will bolster DIB diversity, increase the efficiency of private-public relationships, and build a defense workforce armed with the skills and knowledge to continue providing the high quality systems and services that strengthen national defense.

The BI will develop high quality information and government-focused programs complementary to programs currently offered by the National Defense University and the Defense Acquisition University. These institutions provide excellent examples of how education benefits those participating in the defense contracting system, particularly by ensuring shared understanding of terminology and expectations. NDIA’s Business Institute will help industry stay aligned with their government counterparts in ways that will improve the working relationships between industry program managers and their government customers, maximizing government resources and providing warfighters with rapid innovation across all domains.

The BI launched in May 2021 with its first course, “CMMC 101: A primer to the CMMC program,” adhering to these principles, and demonstrating the value the Business Institute will provide. Provided in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute, the course introduces participants to the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification and walks them through the goals, requirements and details of the program. The BI and Carnegie Mellon delivered an interactive seven-hour course over a single day, ensuring effective, efficient use of participants’ time and money.

We are excited for our members to participate in the development of the Business Institute. Members can offer suggestions for course content on NDIA Connect, our online member community. Working with our members, I’m confident NDIA’s Business Institute will provide industry, government and academia with an accessible, structured and valuable platform to educate, prepare and train defense professionals to more effectively and efficiently meet our nation’s existing and emerging security requirements.

Stay tuned for more course offerings and updates at NDIA.org/Education/BusinessInstitute.

Retired Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle is president and CEO of NDIA.

Topics: Defense Innovation, Business Trends

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