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Northrop Grumman goes full SPEED ahead for small-business growth

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Small businesses that seek a toehold in the often-daunting defense/security industry have a friend in Northrop Grumman to break down barriers in the highly competitive marketplace.

For more than a year, the Los Angeles-based global security company has operated the C2 Futures Lab in San Diego to advance business relationships with small, inventive contractors with big visions but limited resources to deploy solutions and products for programs of record.

The lab serves in tandem with Northrop Grumman’s Small Business Program for Engineering, Experimentation and Deployment (SPEED). It’s a win-win investment.

“SPEED assists small businesses in developing and deploying technology into current and future programs," said Mike Twyman, vice president of Integrated Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence Systems for Northrop Grumman's Information Systems. "By creating an environment that fosters small-business innovation, we broaden our network of idea factories.”

SPEED is Northrop Grumman’s program designed to mentor small businesses through collaboration, and the C2 Futures Lab provides the open architecture framework to facilitate the research-and-development and test-and-integration activities that many small businesses cannot afford.

Case in point: Through the lab and SPEED, Northrop Grumman has engaged several small businesses on the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) program to streamline and update shipboard network systems for the U.S. Navy.

"By combining the inventive ideas with our understanding of open architectures and C2 (command-and-control) systems, integration expertise and knowledge of defense programs, we offer a much higher success rate for those ideas and deliver superior capabilities to our warfighters," Twyman said.

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