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SSC Pacific to continue partnerships, meeting warfighter needs

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Defense industry leaders on Tuesday received an update about what is going on at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, and what to expect in the coming year.

Navy Capt. Mark Kohlheim, commanding officer of the Navy lab, delivered the presentation Tuesday at the monthly Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) San Diego chapter meeting.

As SSC Pacific's work force continues to grow, the need for partnerships with industry and academia remains strong.

"I look at it as a triad," Kohlheim said, explaining that partnering to accomplish goals is the best option. "If we work against each other, we probably won't get there. If we work collaboratively, we will."

More than 65 percent of the lab's $2.6 billion total obligation authority goes to partners in industry and academia.

Of that, the Navy mandates at least 32.25 percent be awarded to small businesses.

SSC Pacific exceeded that goal with 41.95 percent going to small businesses in fiscal year 2009.

Within small business awards, the lab met its goals for the various designations except the Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Zone category and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs).

HUB Zone contract awards fell just slightly below the 3 percent goal, likely because of changes in requirements for those businesses, Kohlheim said.

SDVOSBs, however, only received 2.61 percent instead of the 3 percent goal.

"This year again, we're a little short on (SDVOSBs)," Kohlheim said. "We're still working on that."

But other categories exceeded their goal -- with the veteran-owned small businesses receiving 6.61 percent -- and contributed to the overall total exceeding the Navy's goal.

Overall, the lab's budget has been increasing in recent years. While he does not expect a decline, Kohlheim did predict that funding would start to level off in the fiscal year 2012 time frame.

While some areas of work have declined in funding, others have gone up as new programs emerged and new technologies were implemented.

Research and development is an important area of work for the lab. Kohlheim said he is focused on R&D money coming in, and added that it's going up.

He also remains focused on -- first and foremost -- meeting the warfighter's needs.

He said SSC Pacific, the only full-spectrum Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) capability, will be called on to provide solutions to many emerging threats and needs.

Those bringing ideas to the table will only get somewhere if the warfighter's needs are in mind.

"What is the warfighter impact?" he asked. "If you can't equate it to that, you're not even off the starting block."


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