The Washington Post reports on a
- Walk around the trade show floor and you’ll find the usual big-name defense contractors at their booths. BAE had outfitted an MRAP (mine-resistance, ambush protected vehicle) into an ambulance. Not far away, SAIC showed off a software system that can use “avatars” to train soldiers on the customs of foreign cultures. Passersby marveled at the heavy doors and wheels of three gigantic armored trucks and vehicles brought in by Oshkosh Defense of Wisconsin. Others tried on boots, made with nylon and Gore-Tex lining, that can withstand extreme heat and cold. W.L. Gore & Associates, the company that makes the boot, had brought in a simulation box for interested customers.
- “It’ll give you the feeling of going through the desert and then up into the snow all in two minutes,” said Mary Hopkins, an associate with the Elkton, MD-based firm, explained to a man as he tried on the boots and stood in the simulation box. Unlike during past shows, when there was always a sense of excitement about the business opportunities made possible by the government, a feeling of anxiety prevails over this year’s event. The Pentagon is pushing to in-source more of the work that has been typically done by contractors in recent years. There’s worry about what will happen as the Pentagon’s top brass pushes defense companies to produce weapons systems more efficiently, within budget and on time.
SFTT meticulously reviewed every vendor listed in the AUSA brochure to confirm SFTT’s B.E.S.T. Campaign items – Body Armor, Advanced Combat Helmet, Rifle, Sidearm, and Boots – suffice to say that only Body Armor (Point Blank, Inc) and Sidearm (Beretta) are represented; zero on the Advanced Combat Helmet or the Rifle; and a marginal vendor peddling boots. Enough said.