Within its tight, 5,067-acre footprint, Fort Meade’s primary mission is to provide a wide range of services to 118 partner organizations from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as to several federal agencies, including the National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Media Activity (DMA), Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), Defense Courier Service and U.S. CyberCommand.

Contractors often make the mistake of assuming that the NSA is the best or only possible contracting target. This mistake costs earning billions of dollars in lost opportunities, many of which would have been garnered from viable targets in the short term.

As an example, in a recent briefing, Fort Meade Garrison Commander Col. Brian Foley stated that the physical transformation of the post is continuing, with 13 ongoing construction projects amounting to $1.8 billion planned between 2015 and 2020.

However, construction is not the only industry encompassing a great deal of contracting opportunities. Virtually every service and product area is represented in upcoming bids with the work to be performed on-post.

Noted below is a sample listing of contracts, compiled by TargetGov, anticipated in this current fiscal year at Fort Meade.

$5.8 million: Food services for the Department of the Air Force

$1.7 million: Custodial support for the Department of Defense (DoD)

$5 million: Facility support services for the DoD

$5 million: Construction of a 9,000-square-foot Network Warfare Squadron

$30 million: Requirement for Base Operations Support Services for DISA encompassing all dimensions of operation, maintenance and repair for the facility of approximately

1,070,000 gross square feet.

$21 million: Audio visual services and maintenance for the Defense Media Activity (DMA)

$17 million: Design Bid Build services for a U.S Army Intelligence & Security Command Building

$25 million: Full interior building renovation

$64 million: Information technology services for the Joint Navigational Warfare Center

$30 million: Design Bid Build for the Army Corps of Engineers

$46 million: Professional Services at DISA

$50 million: Medical Command Information Technology (MEDCOMIT) support services

$2.8 million: Support scientific research and training for the Army Medical Command

$1.7 million: Provide administrative support for the Victim-Witness Assistance Program

$460 million: Infinite Delivery/Infinite Quantity (IDIQ) USCYBERCOM mission support services: plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes and conducts activities in the full spectrum of cyber operations.

$25 million: Television and audio support services for the DMA

$10 million: Design Bid Build of road intersection

$9 million: Shelf stocking, receiving and custodial operations

$25 million: Design Bid Build of a vehicle control point

While this is a potentially lucrative market for all types of services and products, there are unique challenges inherent in tracking, pursuing and eventually winning contracts to be performed on-site with any of the 118 Fort Meade partner organizations.

One notable challenge is understanding the complicated acquisition process involved in all federal contracts. When one adds the issue of possible security clearance requirements to the mix, the burden for many business owners becomes too much to tackle.

Compounding the conundrum is the fact that there is no central purchasing authority or process for all 118 activities on-site at Fort Meade. Instead, one must identify the individual agency or organization controlling the acquisition and pursue the individual decision-makers within that specific agency. This is a daunting process and may take years of consistent effort and investment before the first contract is won.

One of the key partners with Fort Meade is the Fort Meade Alliance (FMA), a membership-based 501(c)4 nonprofit community organization created to promote and support Fort Meade. While the FMA serves a number of functions, it also assists those businesses that desire contracting opportunities at Fort Meade.

“Fort George Meade and the National Security Agency, together, generate a total of $17.8 billion in economic activity in Maryland — or 49.4% of the total $36 billion in economic impact from all of the state’s military installations,” said FMA General Manager Tim O’Ferrall. “The Defense Information Systems Agency, the Defense Media Activity, the DoD Consolidated Adjudication Activities and the U.S. CyberCommand are just some of the newest government agencies and organizations that bring tremendous opportunities to the business community.”

Bill Dunahoo, president of Praxis Engineering, in Annapolis Junction, is chair of the FMA’s Meade Business Connect Committee. This committee assists large and small companies with targeted information on the 118 government agencies and organizations at Fort Meade and the region’s prime contractors. It also offers targeted mentoring programs, networking opportunities and events, business forums and capability matching for connections for FMA member companies.

For more information about Fort Meade, visit www.ftmeade.army.mil; for more information about the Fort Meade Alliance, visit www.ftmeadealliance.org.

Gloria Larkin is president of TargetGov in Linthicum. She can be contacted via www.targetgov.com and 866-579-1346.