Magazine article National Defense

Opportunities Abound in NATO Defense Market

Magazine article National Defense

Opportunities Abound in NATO Defense Market

Article excerpt

European defense, a traditional high-value market for transatlantic players, continues to be challenging. Facing similar sequestration initiated cuts in the United States, defense firms have become accustomed to news of stagnant investment, equipment and personnel reductions, and uncertainty about future requirements across the European continent.

And yet, amidst these market pressures, industry on both sides of the Atlantic can find both a dose of certainty and growth in perhaps a pleasantly surprising partner: NATO.

Kicking off a series of awards, Lockheed Martin Corp. was given a contract valued up to $100 million in September to design the active network infrastructure for the new NATO headquarters in Brussels, while ThalesRaytheon Systems secured $180 million this June to enhance NATO's air command and control system. In an era of austerity, NATO is offering real and significant opportunities in the near future.

Two buyers of particular interest to industry, aptly hidden behind bland acronyms, are NCIA (NATO Communications and Information Agency) and the NSPA (NATO Support Agency). NSPA managed more than 24,000 contracts valued at more than $2.85 billion in 2012, and a nearly identical sum in 2011. NCIA has recently announced more than $1.3 billion--and up to an additional 30 percent in smaller awards--in opportunities over the next two years.

The biggest investment area under the latter organization is the communication infrastructure services segment, driving roughly $1.1 billion in *future business opportunities. Two major programs fuel much of this spending--the upcoming NATO satellite communications program valued at $680 million over the next 15 years, and the NATO communications and infrastructures program, a best-value award estimated in the range of $77 million.

Additionally, the NCIA operates multiple small-scale programs that are well suited for specialized firms looking for entry opportunities in the areas of cloud computing security, data security, mobile device security, malware analysis and cyber-intelligence.

One of the largest and most talked about opportunities on the horizon is the upcoming information-technology modernization program estimated at $240 million over five years. The first work package is the heart of the project, providing for data center consolidation, the new NATO private cloud, the bulk of hardware and the core integration and program management.

A number of other opportunities can be found in the areas of command and control--investments in chemical and biological defense, environmental functional services, maritime C2 and GIS tools--intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, counter explosive solutions and functional services for electronic warfare. Air C2 segments include software-based elements, support and enhancements to NATO's air command-and-control systems and ballistic missile defense support, upgrades and communications programs.

Navigating NATO, however, requires patience, and may prove particularly challenging given current reorganization efforts, which involve a dizzying array of agencies. The NCIA was created in July 2012 as the fusion of NATO CIS Services Agency and NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency, as well as the NATO Air Command and Control System Management Agency, the active layered theater ballistic missile defense program office, and disparate information technology support functions of NATO headquarters and other agencies.

Similarly, in July 2012, the former NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency the NATO Airlift Management Agency and the Central European Pipeline Agency merged to form the NATO Support Agency. …

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