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Teammates in deterrence: Small business support to the nuclear mission

Twentieth Air Force News graphic

Twentieth Air Force News graphic. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Capt. Ieva Bytautaite)

F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --

While the mission of 20th Air Force is to "defend the United States with combat ready nuclear forces; on order, conduct global strike," 20 AF bases partner with small businesses to support our nuclear missions.

20 AF commands three intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) wings and one nuclear operations support wing: 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB, N.D., 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., and 377th Air Base Wing at Kirtland AFB, N.M.

Together, the four installations contributed $122.7M to small businesses during fiscal year (FY) 2020, Oct.1, 2019 through Sept. 30, 2020.

"Whether through nuclear deterrence or economic impact, 20th Air Force is dedicated to protect and support this great nation and the communities we call home," said Maj. Gen. Michael J. Lutton, 20 AF commander.

F. E. Warren AFB has obligated $28.7M to small businesses, which is 94 percent of F.E. Warren's contract dollars. To break it down even further, $18.8M is obligated to small disadvantaged businesses (a business owned by one or more individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged), just under $8.6M to service disabled veteran-owned businesses, and $9.8M to women-owned small businesses.

Minot AFB spent a total of $47M; $43M of that went to small businesses. Of the $43M, $19.4M went specifically to North Dakota small businesses.

Malmstrom AFB has obligated $19.5M to small businesses, which is 97% of Malmstrom's contract dollars. Of the $19.5M, $4.5M is to small disadvantaged businesses, just under $1M to service disabled veteran-owned businesses, and $1.1M to women-owned small businesses.

Of Kirtland's $40.3M dollars obligated to contracts, $31.5M is to small businesses. More specifically, $14M to small disadvantaged businesses, $405K to service disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and $3M to women-owned small businesses.

Between Air Force initiatives and wing level efforts, the support and utilization of small businesses continues to grow.

Each of the four 20 AF bases house a small business specialist charged with helping companies identify and respond to every type of procurement opportunity the Air Force offers. For example, Mr. Chuck Weibel is a small business specialist at Malmstrom AFB. He conducts training for vendors, identifies potential opportunities for them to compete on, sets up product demonstration meetings between vendors and potential buyers, and seeks new and unique products that will not only benefit Malmstrom, but the Air Force as a whole.

Kirtland's small business office partnered with New Mexico's Procurement Technical Assistance Center to distribute the FY21 acquisition forecast to N.M. based small businesses. It has also engaged with the General Services Administration to discuss the FY21 acquisition plan and attended the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce Procurement Summit.

F. E. Warren AFB has hosted, and Malmstrom AFB will be hosting, a pitch-day event bringing together small businesses from across the nation to help find solutions to challenges and problems identified by Airmen. Businesses are then selected for their solution and join the Small Business Innovation Research (SIBR) program. The SIBR program allows small businesses to explore new opportunities for research and development.

Communities are also invested in strengthening the connection between small businesses and 20 AF wings going into the future. The Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce has developed a program to equip vendors in being competitive for the opportunities that will come with the ground based strategic deterrent system (GBSD) replacing the Minuteman III ICBMs. GBSD will be deployed to the three current 20 AF ICBM bases, F.E. Warren AFB first, followed by Malmstrom AFB, and then Minot AFB.

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