REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama -- The forthcoming U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s new tool, a Virtual Industry Exchange that includes a Forecast Industry Report, will provide the command’s industry partners with forecasted requirements and business opportunities available to them.Sheri Baskins, chief, Contract Support Division, USASMDC G-8, said that the VIE, a brainchild of James Johnson, USASMDC deputy to the commander, will be an asset for industry partners, as it will provide information regarding contract opportunities.“The objective of the FIR is to serve as a communication tool that helps industry plan and make informed business decisions about a given acquisition,” Baskins said. “Part of early communication with our Department of Defense industry partners is informing them of USASMDC forecast requirements. The FIR does not replace other exchanges, i.e., program/contract specific industry days and other communication events, but is another communication tool to provide forecast information to industry.”Col. Samuel Glover, deputy chief of staff, USASMDC G-8, said that the value of the VIE begins with looking at the customer.“Great customer service starts with communication with the customer,” Glover said. “The VIE FIR planning tool is key, because it will help pave the way to even stronger partnerships with our command’s industry partners as USASMDC pioneers the Army’s modernization efforts of today, tomorrow and the future.”Christy Tarantini, acquisition analyst, CSD, said early communication is vital for all businesses to make informed plans for their organizations.“Early planning is crucial for small and large businesses alike,” Tarantini said. “Business development teams are continually assessing multiple opportunities with multiple agencies in order to decide which opportunities their companies should pursue based on corporate goals, proposal budgets and timeframes.”Tarantini said that advanced information and planning can help businesses build their teams and partnerships based on their goals and plans for the future.“Many times industry partners are exploring teaming ventures with each other many months or even years in the future,” Tarantini said “The more information at their disposal, the better teams they can build, which results in higher quality proposals. That makes it a win for the government too!”Tarantini said user friendliness was a top consideration during the planning and design phase of the FIR.“The FIR was designed with industry in mind,” said Tarantini. “The report sorting capability allows them to narrow down searches for opportunities of interest as both prime and subcontractors. For example, businesses can sort by estimated award dates, dollar values and even projected acquisition strategy, such as small business set-aside or full and open competition.”Mary Birdsong, director, USASMDC Office of Small Business Programs, said the FIR will be an asset for industry partners looking for information regarding contract opportunities for their companies.“USASMDC contract opportunities are primarily geared toward research and development, and engineering services, but other industries should also check the VIE FIR as it is updated, because new opportunities will appear,” Birdsong said.While the VIE FIR will serve as a communication tool, Tarantini said industry partners will still need to submit proposals through the beta.sam.gov website.“The FIR will not affect or change solicitation or proposal submission methods,” Tarantini said. “The report will show the status of USASMDC requirements as they move through the acquisition planning, solicitation, proposal receipt and evaluations, and award phases, or if the requirements have changed or been cancelled.”The command plans to go live on or before June 30 and will update the FIR quarterly.