AFMC Command News

Hanscom acquisition directorates increase support to small businesses

  • Published
  • By K. Houston Waters
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Multiple Hanscom-based acquisition directorates have continued the recent trend of awarding significant contract dollars directly to small businesses.

The Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate; Digital Directorate; and the Nuclear Command, Control and Communications Integration Directorate awarded over $1.4 billion to small businesses in fiscal year 2021, exceeding their combined goal of $840 million.

The C3I&N and Digital Directorates are components of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. The NC3 Integration Directorate is a component of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.

“From Small Business Innovation Research programs to COVID-19 projects, through production and sustainment efforts, here at Hanscom there is a strong desire to support small businesses across the entire spectrum,” said Jeff Emmons, the director of Small Business Programs here.

Both C3I&N and the Digital Directorate have multiple geographically separated units at installations across the United States. Emmons noted that PlatformOne, which is part of C3I&N’s Cryptologic and Cyber Systems Division at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, was a significant contributor to C3I&N’s obligations to small businesses.

In late August 2021, PlatformOne personnel awarded a contract worth almost $300,000 to Black Label for software factory support of cyber operations and information warfare capability development. A few weeks later, PlatformOne entered into an agreement worth nearly $800,000 for computer equipment at their new facility at Lackland, and a contract to Jamf, a software company, for software development worth over $1.5 million.

“Partnering with small businesses can be a game changer relative to us staying agile and ahead of our adversaries,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Schmidt, program executive officer, C3I&N. “Our relationships with defense and commercial large and medium-sized businesses remain extremely important, but small businesses often have the ability to bring innovative ideas and solutions at the speed of need, without the bureaucracy and overhead of a larger business. We’re getting better at merging the attributes that make both small and large businesses great, but there is still much room for improvement.”   

Digital also entered into a number of agreements with small businesses in fiscal year 2021. In October, Aerospace Management Systems Division personnel awarded $19.3 million to Tomorrow.Io, a Boston-based meteorological intelligence company, for three-dimensional global weather and ocean data.

“The Digital Directorate embraces small business goals that increasingly diversify the available defense industrial base,” said Steven Wert, program executive officer, Digital. “We also value these goals because they force us to better understand our systems, the marketplace, and how best to compete business opportunities.”

Emmons believes networking and in-person events are critical to forming and maintaining business relationships. Despite many of these events being on hold because of the pandemic, the directorates were still able to exceed expectations. He attributes this success to market research.  

“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve actually seen increases in meeting our goals, and it’s the market research that’s been the key,” Emmons said. “The integrated product teams have also engaged early and often with industry and involved our office, which has helped boost small business obligations.”  

Emmons noted that not being able to meet face-to-face did impact outreach, but he hopes to get back to previous levels with panels, one-on-one sessions, in-person industry days, and other networking events as soon as possible.  

The directorates also surpassed all socio-economic goals for the period, including increasing obligations to service disabled veteran-owned small businesses, women-owned small businesses, small disadvantaged business, and HUBZone businesses, which are those in historically underutilized business zones.

To contact the Hanscom Small Business Programs office, e-mail Emmons at