ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (April 11, 2016) -- The Army is working hard to build lines of communication between the federal government and small business and industry nationwide through its Better Buying Power 3.0 initiative. This initiative is part of the Defense Department's continuing effort to increase the productivity, efficiency and effectiveness of its many acquisition, technology and logistics efforts.

To support BBP 3.0, the Army Materiel Command's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, held a Technical Interchange Meeting with Industry, or TIM, at the C4ISR campus here, March 31 and April 1, to help industry identify and align their efforts with CERDEC's mission areas.

"It's an exciting time for CERDEC as we continue to grow and adapt, remaining motivated and responsive to the Soldier's needs," said Henry Muller, CERDEC director. "Everything we do goes on a vehicle or an aircraft, whether it be a sensor or comms [communications] package. We work to equip the Soldier and bring down the weight [of the equipment], while making the Soldier more efficient."

"We need to partner with industry to learn best practices and stay abreast of cutting edge technologies, and you gain an understanding by working with us, of how what you're doing is applicable and how it can be relevant in terms of a solution for Army needs," Muller said during his opening welcome at the event.

Approximately 285 companies registered to attend the CERDEC TIM, with 26 percent not having done business with CERDEC previously. Attendees represented large, small, woman-owned, veteran-owned, small-disadvantaged and Historically Underutilized Business Zone companies with interest areas ranging through research and development, science, prototyping and integration, services, manufacturing, and operations and maintenance.

Louise Borrelli, director of Wireless Systems for TrellisWare Technologies, saw the event as beneficial for her company.

"I recently took over the front end of technology research and development with my company, so I'm learning what CERDEC has, which gives me better insight to the possibilities for what my company can get involved in. Being able to preview slides for the presentations showed the targets of opportunity, then I was able to focus during the event meetings and get the most information possible to bring back to my company," she said.

CERDEC engineers gave presentations on technology programs and plans in the areas of communications and networking; surveillance; electronic warfare; information systems; cyberspace operations; EO/IR sensors and sensor processing; mission command; intelligence; RF surveillance and signal processing; position, navigation and timing; reconnaissance; radar; power and energy; and more.

This event ensures CERDEC finds the best ways to provide information to industry partners, while developing these relationships to leverage innovative ideas for its main customer -- the Soldier, said Bruce Testa, CERDEC associate director for Technology and Strategic Planning.

"We are willing to work with each partner to tailor the best possible arrangement to help them share ideas with us," Testa said.

Michael Monteleone, chief of the Cyber Security and Information Assurance Division for the CERDEC Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate, was eager to meet with industry members during his presentations.

"This has been an opportunity to introduce ourselves, exchange contact information and prepare to plan one-on-one meetings to discuss project ideas more specifically. I was able to let them know we always have different aspects of a system reaching a maturity level at different times, so there are always new and different contract opportunities coming available at different times throughout the overall fiscal year range," Montelone said.

CERDEC will make written responses to the questions during the Technical Interchange Meeting publicly available via FedBizOpps and do a full after action of the event in order to continue to improve for the next time. One area for concern said Bob Zanzalari, CERDEC deputy director, was having to limit attendance based on the venue. CERDEC had a waitlist of registrants who were not afforded the opportunity to attend.

"Despite the excellent turnout, 20 percent of the registrants didn't participate. These were spaces that would have been eagerly filled by other members of companies in attendance and others on the waiting list. We'll have captured this as a lesson-learned, which we will to look address in the future," Zanzalari said.

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The U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.