Seeking Milwaukee Emerging Leaders; Deadline March 6

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Application Deadline March 6 for City of Milwaukee Businesses

SBA’s Wisconsin District Office is seeking fifteen urban businesses to participate in its high-intensity business development course, the Emerging Leaders Initiative.  Now in its eighth year, the Emerging Leaders experience helps owners of existing urban small businesses with high growth potential to build sustainable, flourishing companies.

2014 graduate Charles Carter recently spoke to the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service about his Emerging Leaders experience:  “If they ever come up with a part two, sign me up because it helped me and my business tremendously.”  And classmate Magic Maintenance founder and owner Guillermo Montoto Garza agreed. “Being able to share ideas … and learn about marketing, financials and human resources were all valuable,”   You can read the full article here.

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DoD’s proposals aim to simplify ‘mindboggling’ acquisition rules

The Defense Department submitted seven legislative proposals to Capitol Hill Wednesday to simplify its acquisition process.

But just don’t call them reforms, they are improvements, said Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Kendall told the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday that reforms implies there is some big change, or some big initiative that can fix the acquisition system. But that is just not the case with these proposals.

“What we have to do is attack our problems on many fronts and make incremental progress on many fronts, learn from our experience and then adopt new things as we understand the impact of the things we’ve done,” Kendall said. “And that’s why we’ve emphasized a continuous process improvement approach in the Better Buying Initiatives over the last several years. I think that is the right approach. I think we will make incremental progress on a lot of fronts and in the aggregate, I think it will make a big difference.”

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DoD Seeks 10-year Extension of Small Business Mentoring Program

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2015 – The Defense Department intends to request a 10-year extension of a program that improves the ability of socioeconomically disadvantaged small businesses to compete for defense contracts, the program’s manager said yesterday.

The Small Business Mentor-Protege Program began in 1991 as a way to foster small businesses and improve technology transfer between the Defense Department and industry, Robert Stewart said in a DoD News interview.


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FedBid barred from new government contracts

The U.S. Air Force is proposing debarment for Vienna-based FedBid after a September 2014 inspector general’s report alleged contract fraud and cited intimidation tactics from company officials against a Veterans Affairs procurement officer who ruled against the company.

FedBid, which helps agencies buy goods and services through a bidding process from contractors, is ineligible for all new government contracts until the debarment issue is resolved.

The company brought in Arnold & Porter LLP to conduct an independent review of the report, and CEO Joe Jordan said in a statement released Wednesday evening that the review did not reveal any legal wrongdoing on FedBid’s part.

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Obama To Propose Pentagon Spending Boost in 2016

The Obama administration will propose a defense spending increase to levels not seen since 2012 when it sends Congress a $585 billion Pentagon budget request on Monday.

The plan, like others submitted in recent years, will ignore federal spending caps by $34 billion in 2016 and $150 billion over the next five years, according to a source with knowledge of the proposal.

The budget will include $5.3 billion to continue airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, of which $1.3 billion is for training Iraqi Security Forces and moderate Syrian rebels. It also includes $42.5 billion for U.S. operations in Afghanistan next year – less than the $53.4 appropriated for fiscal 2015 – as the number of American forces is expected to decline below the roughly 10,000 soldiers there today.

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Peeling the Onion Back on the Pentagon’s Special Operations Budget

The U.S. special operations budget has been seen as one of the most stable parts of the Defense Department’s $560 billion budget in recent years.

That’s because the Obama administration has placed a premium on the use of these elite units for complicated missions in places like Yemen and Somalia. And don’t forget these were the types of units that flew deep into Pakistan on the mission that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011. Now, more than 12 teams from Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, are advising and assisting Iraqis who are battling Islamic State militants.

While military spending has come down following large-scale ground wars in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade, SOCOM’s budget has remained relatively flat.

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VA Announces Major Department Realignment

The Veterans Affairs Department is reorganizing its labyrinthine structure into a single, five-region national framework as part of a large-scale effort to improve services to veterans and reduce an entrenched bureaucracy responsible for mismanagement throughout the organization.

The realignment would integrate the different geographical and organizational boundaries that exist across the department’s agencies and offices—including those that administer benefits, health and burial services—into five regions across the country. It’s a major undertaking that requires each part of the department to rework its structure to fit into the new “organizational map” by June 30, 2015.

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25 Issues To Watch In the Coming DoD Budget

On Feb. 2, the Pentagon will submit its fiscal 2016 budget request to Congress. Defense News reporters teamed up with budget analytics firm VisualDoD to highlight the most important issues to watch.

Issue: Return of the caps

Context: The Ryan-Murray budget agreement kept 2014 and 2015 funding fairly stable. But without a new deal, DoD’s 2016 budget will revert to the 2011 Budget Control Act sequestration caps. The question is: how will DoD prepare?

Possibilities: Be on the lookout for proposed force structure changes, discrete personnel reductions, major program delays or deferments, and plus-ups in specific areas in anticipation of multi-year sequestration.

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NIST issues final guidance for mobile app security

Today’s mobile-enabled workers have access to a variety of apps that are designed to improve productivity, but an employee who downloads an unsafe app may unwittingly expose an organization’s computer network to security and privacy risks.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Vetting the Security of Mobile Applications, (SP 800-163) aims to help organizations assess the security and privacy risks associated with mobile apps, whether developed in-house or downloaded from mobile app marketplaces.

It is the final version of Technical Considerations of Vetting 3rd Party Mobile Applications guide that was published for comments in August 2014.

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Happy New Year and Welcome to MyAccount!

Happy New Year and Welcome to MyAccount!

We set up the My Account section of our updated website to provide you with access to additional resources including current opportunities, past presentations and copies of our past newsletters.

To start the year, I would like to bring some new items of possible interest to your attention.

  • The Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) will be hosting 2015 National Energy Forum and Small Business Industry Days in April 2015. Representatives from Federal agencies, academia and industry will be attending and participating. This is a must attend for any business in construction, A/E, environmental, water, or energy fields. Registration is open.
  • The new issue of LOGLINES, the current issue of DLA’s newsletter is now posted on their website   The issues takes an in depth look at DLA’s support of US Agency for International Development led efforts.
  • SBIR/STTR – R&D dollars specifically targeted to small business – USDA and DOE have issued their solicitations. Visit for links to the documents and other information supporting this small business program.

I would also like to congratulate the staff at WPI on being recognized by the Regional Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) leadership earlier this month for their work with the small business community.

Wishing you success in the New Year and if we can be of assistance, please let us know.

Aina Vilumsoms

Executive Director