SMDC deputy commander connects with industry during APBI
Richard P. De Fatta, deputy to the commander of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, speaks virtually, along with other Team Redstone leaders, at the Advance Planning Briefing for Industry at Bob Jones auditorium, March 22. The briefings, which were hosted March 22-24, assist industry, research and academic partners to plan and prepare for future requirements with government contracts. (U.S. Army photo by Jason B. Cutshaw) (Photo Credit: Jason Cutshaw) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama – The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s senior civilian spoke to community and industry leaders on the command’s contract requirements.

Richard P. De Fatta, Deputy to the USASMDC Commander, spoke virtually along with other Team Redstone leaders at the Advance Planning Briefing for Industry at the Bob Jones auditorium, March 22. The briefings, which were hosted March 22-24, assist industry, research and academic partners to plan and prepare for future requirements with government contracts.

APBI includes briefings on programs that will be issuing solicitations for competitive bids within an approximately three-to-five-year timeframe. APBI is unclassified and open to all interested contractors, large and small businesses, and academia as well as other government stakeholders.

De Fatta said APBI is a great opportunity for the command, along with the rest of Redstone Arsenal’s defense activities, to engage directly with industry to support the Warfighter. He added that this has been difficult to do for the past couple of years due to the pandemic environment and the high degree of telework.

“It is important that we communicate changes in our operational environment, our modernization initiatives, and our science and technology priorities,” De Fatta said. “We are normally in a well-integrated government and industry environment, and need to take seriously every event where we can both give input to our industry partners and likewise, receive feedback to understand their concerns and seek advice from an outside perspective.”

De Fatta said APBI is an important venue and serves to initiate conversation between the government and industry teams here that actively partner with the common goal of supporting the warfighter.

“This is achieved by enabling industry to understand our priorities and challenges and for the government to understand the impacts our decisions make on their ability to provide capabilities we need now and into the future,” he said. “Just like our warfighting formations and doctrine, industry needs to be able evolve and adapt to changes in the environment.”

SMDC provides industry with command requirements information throughout the year and frequent engagements, allowing industry to make informed business decisions and provide quality proposals, by posting its Virtual Industry Exchange Forecast Industry Report quarterly on the command’s public website at

Sheri M. Baskins, SMDC G-8 Contract Support Division chief, said the command is committed to transparency on its forecasted future opportunities and the Fiscal Year 2022 Team Redstone APBI is a large event that provides industry with an early vision of planned and potential government acquisition actions over the next several years.

“SMDC can leverage this opportunity with industry to collaborate, network and explore prospects for strategic partnership,” Baskins said. “SMDC’s participation in the APBI will continue to ensure our success in supporting the Warfighter. This year's theme is ‘Government - Industry Partnering to Support Large Scale Combat Operations’ and is quite appropriate considering the state of world affairs and current conflicts. The theme aligns nicely with SMDC’s complex mission to develop and provide current and future global space, missile defense and high altitude capabilities to the Army, joint force, our allies and partners to enable multi-domain combat effects; enhance deterrence, assurance and detection of strategic attacks; and protect the nation.”

Baskins said De Fatta put his personal stamp and unique perspective on his presentation and added some new points of interest to industry including a discussion on the “Facts of Life” state of current affairs, the upcoming USASMDC Technical Center Space and Directed Energy Technology Complex under construction, as well as space and missile defense areas of interest.

She added that Mary Birdsong, director of the SMDC Office of Small Business Programs, will be presenting separately during the small business segment, which also includes a match-making session to facilitate large and small businesses teaming opportunities.

“In these challenging times of reduced and decreasing budgets, it is vital that the taxpayer, warfighter, Army and nation get the biggest bang for its defense buck by numerous means including focusing on needs vs wants, encouraging innovation by industry, and instituting a true partnership mindset,” Baskins said. “Participation in events such as APBI promotes better government and industry communication and provides them an early glimpse of potential forecasted requirements. This aids industry efforts in making informed business decisions about which acquisitions to pursue and determine the best strategy for developing winning proposals resulting in good contracts that meet both parties’ goals. This is a win-win for government and industry.”

Baskins said she couldn’t talk about industry exchanges without mentioning SMDC’s own virtual communication tool, the Virtual Industry Exchange/Forecast Industry Report that the command launched in the summer of 2020. She added that VIE/FIR is posted on the SMDC public website quarterly providing up to date information on requirements across the command.

“SMDC uses this platform and numerous other venues such as APBI to demonstrate its continued commitment for meaningful exchanges and to provide industry with potential opportunities as early as possible for their planning purposes,” Baskins said.