This year, Amentum once again was proud to be sponsor of the Professional Services Council’s Vision Forecast held on December 1-2, 2021. The Vision process involves compiling non-attribution interviews with government, think tanks, industry, SMEs, etc. and data to generate a common picture of how the market will evolve in the coming year. Our own Jason Dombrowski led the Defense Services Team and shares some of the team’s insights to predict what the future of defense services might look like.
The first year after a presidential election is always an interesting one for the Vision process – we have the prospect of a new or returning administration with changes no matter how it turns out. With this year’s change from the Trump to the Biden Administration, here are some insights we that include opportunities and challenges ahead within the defense industry.
Tailwinds – Items that should prove advantageous to the industry
- Great Power Competition with China and Russia will create opportunities with solutions and programs that are connected to this overall strategy getting priority (i.e. space, cyber, unmanned systems)
- Supply chain resiliency challenges represent opportunities for industry to address ongoing concerns such as cybersecurity risks, lack of an onshore production, and the need for a diverse small business base
- There was a general sense that the administration could represent a more familiar pace / approach
Headwinds – Items that might prove challenging to the industry
- Personnel challenges (retirement, vaccine requirements, competition with the commercial sector) in the government and industry will require a collective effort to increase incentives and inspire the next generation to join the defense and government sectors
- Over half of the political appointees are not in their jobs yet, so there’s disconnects between high-level administration priorities and execution
Tossups – Items that could be good or bad
- The overall DOD budget will remain essentially flat – growing in line with inflation – this will either provide a healthy pruning to ensure only the most fruitful programs continue or it will create negative pressure in an effort to free up money for new investments
- There is a growing trend of moving work into a “X as a Service” model – increasing over 500% in the last 4 years.
Questions – Items we’re looking for answers to in the coming year
- The Space Force represents the first time since 1947 that the U.S. has created a new service branch – what sort of characteristics, preferences, processes, etc. they adopt is very much up in the air
- While there’s a desire for new capabilities it’s unclear how they will be funded and where the resultant intellectual property will reside – OTAs provide one avenue for initial development, but it’s unclear how what is produced will be operationalized
Ultimately, we’re at an inflection point in the industry – the U.S. has left Afghanistan, China and Russia loom large, and domestic resourcing challenges stand to grow more acute. This inflection point represents opportunity for those organizations that can adapt to connect what services they provide to these missions.
Here at Amentum, we’re taking steps to help our clients deal with this resource-constrained return to Great Power Competition: we’re developing our MerlinMx predictive maintenance and SupplyTrac logistics solutions that will help increase efficiency for sustainment. We’re creating new training solutions with the Army that will provide more realistic training environments, and our partnerships with community and education groups such as HBCUs and our charitable partners are helping to grow the next generation of talent.
A fully copy of the presentations and recordings may be purchased from PSC.