We were getting lots of questions from folks in industry asking us if we had heard anything about this year’s Soldier Systems Advanced Planning Brief for Industry. We hadn’t, and we hadn’t seen any announcements on Fed Biz Opps so we sent an inquiry to PEO Soldier but they never answered back. However, we’ve consulted with enough industry sources that we feel confident telling you that there isn’t going to be an APBI this year. It’s almost like cancelling Christmas for some folks.
The Soldier Systems APBI was a unique gathering. It brought together Acquisition professionals representing all four services, USSOCOM, and DHS with industry reps from the entire supply chain. No other DoD commodity group could boast this kind of interaction. What’s more, it didn’t cost an arm and a leg to participate so you’d see a lot of smaller firms there as well. I’d hazard a guess that more business was conducted over the two days in the lobby of that get together than at any other time throughout the year.
Sure, there are lots of other meetings throughout the year, but they are smaller and parochial in nature. For example, the footwear producers will meet, and maybe the printers or the armor folks. But generally, they are talking amongst themselves and often at an industry day where they are in direct competition. The APBI was the one time a year where everyone was in it together and critical to the health of the industry.
With an abrupt change in leadership at the PM-ICE the week before last and an upcoming change of command at PEO-Soldier this is the perfect time to ‘rally the troops.’ Hopefully, someone will step up and be able to recreate the magic that was the Soldier Systems APBI in a non-parochial venue.