Time to flex and stretch those defense muscles

Today's market demands agility to meet customer demands

Agility is the watchword of today’s defense market.

On the buyer’s side, the Defense Department wants systems that work easily and well together and are flexible and adaptable enough to meet multiple missions in multiple environments.

The challenge for contractors is not only delivering systems and services that meet DOD’s demands but also making sure their business models and processes let them adapt to changing defense needs.

In addition to DOD's demand for flexible systems, the department is shifting priorities away from weapons platforms and toward lighter and more information-centric systems.

As we explore in our cover story, contractors are making moves to keep up with and even stay ahead of their customers.

These moves include making acquisitions to pick up important capabilities, such as cybersecurity, structuring business operations to match customer demands, and investing in research and development in areas such as unmanned vehicles.

DOD's demands for information and data will only increase in the future, which will play into the sweet spot of many systems integrators that have traditionally the defense market.

But we expect newcomers to also have the opportunity to crack the market. Opportunities will be as varied as data analytics and the use of information as a weapon.

Of course, budget constraints will have an impact, so a top priority for companies that want to succeed in the defense market is to help their customers be more efficient and do more with less.

As much as the market changes, one truism remains — contractors that understand their customers and can anticipate where the customers are headed will succeed.

So do your stretches; it is time to prove how flexible you can be.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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