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U.S. Defense Department Accelerates Small Business Innovation

Updated: Jun 14, 2021

The Department of Defense announced on November 19, 2020, a new contracting vehicle for procuring research, engineering, and technical expertise from small businesses to promote innovation and advance the Department’s technological superiority.

The five-year vehicle, called the Research, Development, Test & Evaluation, Engineering, and Technical Support (RETS) is designed as a small business set-aside, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract with a ceiling of $496,000,000. The contract was awarded to American Systems Corp., of Chantilly, Virginia; Applied Research Associates Inc., of Alexandria, Virginia; and Modern Technology Solutions Inc., Alexandria, Virginia.

The Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Advanced Capabilities, James A. Faist, spearheaded the effort within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)). “As the Department's lead for engineering, we in Advanced Capabilities had to secure the flexibility and the engineering talent to take the Department into the future,” said Faist. “With this contract, we have the agility to get the right analysis and technical support as DOD looks to maintain U.S. technological superiority."

RETS will improve business operations by providing the Department with greater access to innovative technical solutions and talent. RETS also better aligns business operations to the National Defense Strategy line of effort to reform the Department for greater performance and affordability. By consolidating legacy contracts and leveraging small business innovation, RETS will improve efficiency and offer cost savings for performance of the following tasks:

  • Modeling & Simulation

  • Operations Research

  • Mission Engineering

  • Developmental Test & Evaluation

  • Prototyping, Experimentation, and Demonstration

  • Science and Technology (S&T) Research and Assessment

  • Data Management & Analysis

The first task under RETS for Mission Engineering support, valued at $6.9 million, was awarded on November 25, 2020 to Modern Technology Solutions Inc., a small business. Ms. Amy Murray, Director of the Office of Small Business Programs and Deputy DASD for Industrial Policy, applauded the R&E team’s approach to utilize the RETS contract as a set-aside for small business offerors. “This award highlights the value and innovation that our small business engineering and technical services community brings to the Department of Defense,” said Murray. “They are great partners who provide technical expertise, rigor, and agility to meet the Department’s contracted engineering needs.”


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