Program to Aid Military, State Firms

Article excerpt

A joint venture between Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base is being touted as a government experiment that works.

The Computer Assisted Technology Transfer program is being tested at Tinker to "create a synergism" between the military and Oklahoma manufacturers, according to Ernie Schultz, aide to U.S. Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla.

"(It) will lead to reduced military contracting costs through competition of an expanded base of suppliers, reduced lead time, reduced inventory and increased economic stability for defense-related industry," Schultz said.

OSU is the prime contractor on the project, even though contracts have not been signed. That is expected within a few weeks, according to Col. Thomas B. Miller, director of the logistics center's Technology and Industry Support Directorate.

What the test does is develop a paperless system so that any manufacturer with the proper computerized equipment and software can handle government contracting, from request for proposal to finished product through electronic data transfer.

Many small companies have been left out of the government contracting business because some aspects of bidding notices cannot be transmitted to potential bidders in an electronic format. This test would help eliminate that problem by devising a method which would allow equal access to the computer network by all companies.

"Additionally, many requests for quotes and requests for proposals contain extraneous information and incomplete specifications, so that small businesses are not able to respond with a competitive bid," read a report from U.S. Rep. Dave McCurdy, D-Okla. "Consequently, the Defense Logistics Agency frequently utilizes sole-source contracts to procure parts, making the procurement process expensive and inefficient, and discouraging small and midsize manufacturers."

Funding for the program was included in a conference committee report to the U.S. House and Senate late last week. The House passed the measure by voice vote Wednesday while the Senate is expected to vote today or Friday.

Appropriation of the $7.6 million is expected when Congress returns from its August recess.

The program is geared to helping local industry, Miller said.

"Computer Assisted Technology Transfer is a program geared toward transferring manufacturing and information technologies developed by federal agencies to industry within the state of Oklahoma," Miller said. …