The Air Force awarded a contract in three minutes. That’s astronomically shorter than the three months it usually takes the service to award a small business contract.
The breakneck pace was thanks to the Air Force’s Pitch Day, which awarded 51 contracts to companies that have little or no experience with the military. The service doled out $3.5 million to those small businesses on Wednesday — each in 15 minutes or less. The first installments of the companies’ contracts were in their bank accounts almost immediately.
While Pitch Day signifies a momentous increase in acquisition speed, it also indicates a sea change in the way the Air Force looks at the future of its industrial base and who it spends its money on.
“Our goal in the Air Force is to start expanding the industry base again,” Will Roper, Air Force assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, told reporters Thursday. “That is my moonshot for this year. We’ve got to do it on two sides: One strategy for the primes, one strategy for the dual-use or commercial companies.”