Not every new national security opportunity is in the D.C. metro area. More cleared hubs continue to grow around the U.S. The DoD clearly wanted the Midwest to be considered as more than a flyover state, with placing their fifth and newest office in Chicago – coming in 2022.

“We need our current and future partners from commercial industry to play a major role in the Department’s efforts to modernize our forces,” said USD(R&E) Heidi Shyu. “The Department must encourage opportunities for non-traditional companies to participate and I will look to the Defense Innovation Unit and our regional hubs to spur this collaboration. I am particularly excited about the newest DIU office in Chicago representing the incredible technology and private investment occurring across the Midwest region to help ensure that we deliver superior capabilities to our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Guardians today and tomorrow.”

DIU operates in four technology ecosystems around the country – Mountain View, CA; Boston, MA; Austin, TX; and Washington, DC – to identify and attract the best of breed commercial technology for the Department of Defense (DoD). Since launching the  Commercial Solutions Opening in 2016, DIU has made prototype awards to more than 250 companies across 24 states, Washington, DC, and six countries, but responses from Midwest states are underrepresented.  After interviewing companies, accelerators, universities, and venture capital firms across the Midwest to identify the challenges, Chicago was selected as DIU’s regional hub in a growing innovation ecosystem.

“Every year, more tech companies are opening offices in Chicago and enhancing our status as a leading hub for 21st-century innovation,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “DIU’s expansion further demonstrates our city’s advantages and strengths, as well as its ability to attract the next big names in this ever-growing industry. I welcome DIU’s expanded presence in the Midwest and look forward to working with them to continue fostering Chicago’s strong innovation ecosystem.”

The establishment of DIU’s Chicago office is part of a broader regional outreach strategy to connect DoD to companies, labs, military bases, accelerators, academic partners, and investors. To reach organizations across the 12 states that makeup DIU’s Midwest region, DIU’s will leverage a full-time and part-time reservist team as well as coordinate with government partners, some of whom already have hubs in the region, including the National Security Innovation Network, the Army Applications Laboratory, AFWERx, the Army’s 75th Innovation Command, and NavalX.

“There is untapped potential to support the military through innovative companies in the Midwest.  We look forward to engaging entrepreneurs and investors to strengthen the national security innovation base,” said Mike Brown, Director of the Defense Innovation Unit.

Contract Opportunities to Watch

Leidos Leidos was recently awarded a new task order by the Air Combat Command (ACC) Acquisition Management and Integration Center (AMIC) to support ACC intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. The single-award, firm-fixed price task order has a one-year base period of performance, four one-year options, and a total contract value of approximately $531 million if all options are exercised. Work will be performed at over 25 CONUS locations.

“Combating global threats requires our armed forces to possess and constantly obtain critical knowledge of the strategic, operational, and tactical environments,” said Leidos Defense Group President Gerry Fasano. “We look forward to leveraging our more than 33 years of strategic intelligence experience and exceptional performance on the current ACC ISR program to support our warfighters in meeting the challenges of peacetime air sovereignty and wartime air defense.”

Under the contract, Leidos will provide subject matter expertise and threat mitigation support for ACC ISR operations along with a full range of intelligence support and ISR operational services that encompass analysis and assessment support, ISR training support, and intelligence support for HQ ACC Staff, subordinate NAF Staffs, Centers, and Wings.

Headquartered at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia, the AMIC provides services acquisition solutions for ACC, the largest of the Air Force’s major commands.

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And ManTech International is expanding their advanced digital engineering capabilities for their work with the DoD with the acquisition of Gryphon Technologies. ManTech has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the systems engineering firm for $350 million.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Gryphon Technologies provides a broad array of advanced digital and systems engineering capabilities for Department of Defense agencies. The company has built a strong reputation of providing model-based systems engineering, predictive analytics, data/computational science and cloud engineering solutions now deployed for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, DARPA, the Missile Defense Agency and other Department of Defense agencies.

The acquisition adds over 1,500 highly skilled employees to the ManTech team and will expand ManTech’s DoD footprint and suite of capability offerings with signature digital engineering solutions.

“This acquisition maps directly to our Defense Sector expansion strategy of leveraging transformational innovation to advance missions, modernize operations and safeguard military systems and personnel across the DoD landscape,” said Kevin M. Phillips, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of ManTech. “We are very pleased to welcome Gryphon’s talented employees, sophisticated capabilities and customers.”

Gryphon CEO and Founder P.J. Braden said, “We are very excited to become a part of ManTech, a recognized leader in supporting national and homeland security. This is a great opportunity for our employees, who will benefit from ManTech’s more than 50 years of serving our nation, as well as its advanced professional development and commitment to career enablement.”

ManTech will fund the acquisition from cash on hand with additional funding from its existing line of credit and delayed draw term loan facilities. The acquisition is subject to various closing conditions and approvals including approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, and is expected to be completed by year-end, 2021.



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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.