ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. --/ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- More than 800 business and industry representatives from across the country gathered here Dec. 3 for a view of potential contracting opportunities from the C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) Center of Excellence. It is the fourth time the C4ISR Center of Excellence has presented a consolidated view of opportunities as an Advance Planning Briefing for Industry (APBI) since its creation on Aberdeen Proving Ground in 2010. The C4ISR Center of Excellence consists of the U.S. Army Communications and Electronics Command (CECOM); the Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center; the Program Executive Office, Command, Control, and Communications Tactical; the Program Executive Office, Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors; and the Army Contracting Command-Aberdeen Proving Ground. These C4ISR Center of Excellence commands presented 77 potential contracting opportunities worth an estimated $21.8 billion over the next five years. This presentation of potential C4ISR opportunities was part of an installation-wide Advanced Planning Briefing for Industry held Dec. 2-6. The event brought private sector representatives from large and small businesses to a forum where government representatives provided information about potential, future contracting opportunities from the installation's major focus areas of C4ISR; testing and evaluation; research and development; chemical-biological defense; and medical research. The Baltimore District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers participated as well discussing both civil works and military construction contracting. John Nerger, executive deputy to the commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, kicked off the event with a situational overview. Despite news of budget reductions and drawdowns, he said, "The Army is not going out of business." That small bit of humor did not detract from serious nature of his theme that the Army is facing challenging times and that it needs industry partnerships to ensure the capabilities necessary to support successfully the joint warfighter. "We need to redouble our efforts to work with each other," Nerger said, "and we are grateful for what you (private industry) bring to the partnership." According to Nerger, the Army Materiel Command will now begin to hold annual industry forums like the one that is held annually at Aberdeen at its other primary installation locations of Detroit Arsenal, Mich.; Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.; and Redstone Arsenal, Ala. Maj. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, echoed those sentiments in his remarks. The Army relies on healthy relationships with industry, both large and small, to accomplish our missions, and the Advance Planning Briefing for Industry is absolutely essential to building and maintaining those relationships, he explained. "APG truly serves as the center of gravity for many of the missions that support our joint forces." The theme of this year's APBI was "Where Innovation Thrives," and Jesse Barber, Ombudsman for the U.S. Army Materiel Command used that theme to emphasize the value of public-private partnerships. "These events are crucial for the future of our Organic Industrial bases and allow us to show case how we can partner to reduce capital outlay cost," he said. Barber explained that there are many capabilities at Army arsenals and depots of which the private sector is unaware but that linking the Army's organic industrial capabilities with private sector capabilities will bring the "biggest bang for the buck." "The APBI provides transparency of potential business opportunities provided by the Army at APG," explained Mr. Kenyata Wesley, Chief Associate Director of Small Business Programs for CECOM. "The APBI provides an environment where companies providing service, products, and technologies are informed of anticipated contracting opportunities. This event gives every business, large or small, access to the same information at the same time," he explained. The Army is statutorily required to provide projections of all anticipated contract actions above $100,000. An event such as the Advance Planning Briefing for Industry meets this statutory requirement for sharing information. In fact, a number of local small businesses made this event a huge success, according to Linda Edwards, who led the logistics support for the event from the post's Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Program. In order to create an efficient registration experience, she contracted the registration process and web site to a Baltimore, Md., small business. Local small businesses also provided the buses which transported the attendees from parking lots to the post theater, the fest tent in which the food was served, the food caterer, the signs, the decorations, and the porta-potties. All of the presentations and briefings of potential contracting opportunities and accompanying video will be posted at: https://sec.cloud.army.mil/OSBP/