Posted on 1/20/2016

5 Defense Sector Opportunities for Business

John Bedz

A new year always allows for a fresh start, and that applies to business as well. In my role with Automation Alley, I encounter businesses and organizations of just about every size and type. Many ask about the defense sector and how to keep a better eye out for opportunities there. In this New Year, there are five distinct avenues for your organization to consider, each with more than one entry point. 

The Tank Automotive Research and Development Engineering Center (TARDEC) has released twelve topics as part of the Department of Defense 2016.1 release. You can request the TARDEC topics here. These topics will be awarded to companies for a feasibility study and then on to Phase II for prototype development. Responses for the 2016.1 Topics are due Feb. 17, and more information about the program can be found here

One of the challenges of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is manufacturing. If your expertise is more in line with making, rather than developing, we invite you to learn more about this type of opportunity by contacting us.

For those with ideas and interest in presenting papers at a defense event, we have two to pass along. The call for abstracts is open for the 2016 Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering Technology Symposium (GVSETS). The annual event from TARDEC will be in Novi on Aug. 2-4. The Call for Abstracts can be found here, and the session topics are: autonomous ground systems; modeling and simulation, testing and validation; power and mobility, systems engineering; and vehicle electronics and architectures. Abstracts are due Feb. 15.

The 2016 International Society for Terrain Systems (ISTVS) 8th Americas Regional Conference is being held in Troy, Sept. 12-14. ISTVS is focused on the future research direction in terramechanics, mobility, energy efficiency and off/on-road vehicle engineering for complex terrain and cyber environments. The ISTVS is also soliciting abstracts for participation in six separate technical symposia, and poster sessions. There are also numerous opportunities for sponsorships and displays. All information can be found here.

Lastly, the Michigan Defense Expo will be larger than ever again this year as this expo continues to evolve by adding programming and new opportunities each year. The event will be held in Warren and is free to attend. More information on MDEX can be found here.

2016 starts with the defense sector seeking to make doing business with them easier. Perhaps you should consider making this sector part of your growth as well. Automation Alley, as always, is standing by to help you. 

About the Author

John Bedz | Automation Alley

John Bedz, Automation Alley’s defense consultant, assists with U.S. Army consulting and provides strategic analysis of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Contact him at


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