Military agencies in Central Florida’s modeling, simulation and training (MS&T) community are acutely aware of the value of industry’s contributions in accomplishing their missions, as well as their relationships with contacts on the industry side of that community.


Small businesses have a strong record of meeting warfighters’ needs with speed that bigger, more-established firms can’t always match. Unfortunately, smaller companies that can provide innovative solutions to warfighter challenges, don’t always possess the know-how to solve their own challenges when navigating the bureaucracy of government contracting.


While we can’t address the multitude of complexities involved in government rules and regs in this article, if you’re a small business relatively new to the Orlando area’s MS&T space, we can help with some tips that may help smooth the way in doing business with the Navy – which were largely supplied by Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD). Certain tips can also be applied to interactions with other Team Orlando military organizations.


The old cliché states, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” While there is definitely more “what you know” required in developing training products that affect national security, “who you know” can help in accessing the right audience to showcase your company’s solutions. (Click the links below to learn more about the agency or event schedule.)


You’ll want to familiarize yourself with a few industry organizations, such as the National Center for Simulation, the National Defense Industrial Association. Click here for a brief description of other organizations that comprise Team Orlando.


Regularly attending industry functions like Procurement Administrative Lead Time (PALT) meetings and events at Central Florida Tech Grove will introduce you to a variety of government, academia and other industry representatives, who can be helpful in finding the appropriate route for your business and the training solution you’re seeking to provide. (They might also be able to help you figure out some of those government administrative requirements.)


Like most industries, conferences also provide several networking opportunities. The Training and Simulation Industry Symposium in June, and the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference in late November/early December are a couple of the MS&T community’s biggest events in Orlando.


Make sure your company’s cybersecurity can defend against any threats it may encounter online. There are several reasons the Joint Chiefs of Staff have recognized cyber as a domain of warfare since publishing the 2004 National Military Strategy.


During last April’s Tech Grove “Juice Bar” event, Steve South, director of the APEX Accelerator at the University of Central Florida, emphasized cybersecurity’s heightened importance in today’s business environment. In his role, South regularly consults small businesses to prepare them to successfully conduct business with the DoD and present themselves as serious candidates when competing for government contracts.


“[Cybersecurity is] becoming more and more a priority for all levels of government,” South said. “Even counties and cities are saying they’re vulnerable if their vendors don’t have good, strong capability. On the Department of Defense level, it becomes a national security issue if a small business doesn’t have good cybersecurity, and small businesses just have to find a way to keep up.”


Visit the Air Force’s Blue Cyber Education Series for Small Businesses and Project Spectrum to help determine your firm’s level of cybersecurity readiness and identify deficiencies. Click here  for information on a series of virtual cybersecurity lectures by the Small Business Administration scheduled throughout October.


Understand the priorities of the agency you intend to make a client:
NAWCTSD commanders, past and present, have always been clear about their priorities: the customer, speed, availability, and affordability of the training products. “Speed to the fleet” has always been the first priority in maintaining a fighting force capable of deterring or defeating peer and near-peer adversaries.


NAWCTSD’s more specific interests in research efforts, products and services include:
1) Modeling and simulation training systems
2) Curriculum and courseware training support services
3) Research and technology focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning
4) SPANS (Safety Program Airmen Notification System) aviation, surface and undersea warfare, cross-warfare, and international programs


Points of contact:
If you’re trying to communicate with someone specific at NAWCTSD, keep the following points of contact in mind: Leslie Faircloth, deputy for small business programs, can be contacted at 407-380-4043 or Diana Teel, industry outreach, can be reached at 407-380-4903 or Finally, John Hodak and Lisa Ouakil, who oversee small business innovation research, cooperative research & development agreements, the tech transfer program, and patent & SW license agreements, can be contacted at

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