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Breaking Acquisition: Going to Market in DoD



Start Date


6 sessions


About the Course

If you’re entering or growing inside the federal market, you might know how the system is supposed to work. 

But you also know that the complex flowchart of acquisition processes almost NEVER work the way they’re supposed to.

That’s where we come in.

In this six session course, we’ll bring together a community of experts to give you the unvarnished truth about how the system really works, and what you need to win. You’ll hear stories never publicly shared, learn lessons that took others decades to earn. 

If you know one thing about the federal government, you need a guide to navigate the maze of organizations, rules, and unique processes that make it a difficult but crazy rewarding customer. 

Join us, and become part of a community of driven professionals who are making waves in the federal market.

All participants will get access to course content, recording sessions, and a special course alumni community!

Session Overview:

Session 1: Lay of the Land (Tues, 5/21 - 3-5p ET)

Session 1 introduces participants to the foundational elements of the defense procurement system, offering a deep dive into its complexity, key players, and operational workflow. This session aims to demystify the defense acquisition environment, distinguishing between critical roles such as customers, users, acquisition teams, and executive support. Participants will learn about the various organizations involved in defense procurement and their responsibilities, providing clarity on the ”who’s who” in this intricate ecosystem. The session also covers the strategic importance of understanding the defense procurement lifecycle, including the development and flow of capabilities and requirements, and introduces participants to the key personas involved in the sales journey.

Session 2: Market Research (Tues, 6/4 - 3-5p ET)

Session 2 delves into the critical aspect of market research in the context of defense procurement. Participants will explore the significance of market research activities and understand the various methodologies and tools available to conduct effective market research. The session covers the role of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program in market entry, detailing its process, benefits, and limitations. Strategies for participating effectively in market research activities, such as Requests for Information (RFIs), Sources Sought Notices, industry days, and one-on-one meetings, will be discussed. Additionally, this session addresses common pitfalls in market research and provides best practices for aligning with strategic priorities, demonstrating relevance, building relationships, and transitioning from market research to tangible opportunities.

Session 3: Requirements Development (Tues, 6/11 - 3-5p ET)

In this session, we will explore the pivotal process of requirement development within the defense procurement landscape. This session focuses on understanding the role of requirements in shaping procurement decisions, identifying the key players involved in the process, and comprehending the various types of requirements documents. The lifecycle of requirements development, from capability gap identification to validation and approval, will be examined in detail. Special emphasis is placed on understanding the unique categories of requirements such as Joint Urgent Operational Needs (JUONs), Joint Emergent Operational Needs (JEONs), and Urgent Universal Needs Statements (UUNS). Strategies for effectively influencing requirements, legal and ethical considerations, and best practices for supporting the requirements development process will be discussed. Participants will gain insights into being a trusted advisor in the requirements development phase, ensuring alignment with mission needs and operational gaps.

Session 4: Prioritization + Budget Hunting (Thurs, 6/13 - 3-5p ET)

Session 4 delves into the intricate processes of prioritization and budget hunting within the defense procurement landscape. This session equips participants with the knowledge to understand how defense organizations prioritize requirements and allocate budgets. It explores the key factors influencing prioritization decisions, such as strategic alignment, operational urgency, and resource constraints. Participants will learn about the defense budgeting process, including Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) and the development of Program Objective Memorandums (POMs). Various types of defense funding and strategies for aligning solutions with organizational priorities to secure funding will be discussed. The session also covers the art and science of budget hunting, including identifying funding sources, tracking budget decisions, and leveraging funding movements. Best practices for supporting prioritization and budget allocation efforts will be shared, aiming to enhance participants’ abilities to navigate the financial aspects of defense procurement effectively.

Session 5: Contract Strategy and Closing (Tues, 6/25 - 3-5p ET)

Session 5 focuses on Contract Strategy and Closing, crucial phases in the defense procurement process. Participants will explore various contract vehicles and their strategic implications for defense sales and partnerships. The session provides an in-depth understanding of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) based contracts, Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreements, Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), and grants. It delves into the decision-making process behind selecting the appropriate contract vehicle and type, including considerations for standalone versus multiple award contracts, fixed-price versus cost-reimbursement contracts, and the selection between commercial and non-commercial items. Strategies for maximizing contract flexibility and agility, intellectual property considerations, compliance, and audit requirements are thoroughly covered. Participants will also learn about the best practices for contract strategy and execution, negotiation techniques, and transitioning to contract execution and management. This session aims to equip participants with the knowledge to develop and implement effective contract strategies, navigate regulatory environments, and successfully close contracts.

Session 6: Bonus Session - Guest Panelists - TBA

Your Instructor

Daniel Shires

Daniel Shires

Daniel Shires is a defense tech expert and former operator who brings a unique blend of planning, psychology, and mathematical experience to his work with DoD. He knows the system from the inside and outside, as he last served as the Chief Innovation Officer for 1st Special Forces Command, where he founded the Innovation and Technology Division.

Since leaving the military he has supported dozens of small companies in moving their ideas from concept to deployed capability inside the Department of Defense.

Daniel has a MS in Computational and Applied Mathematics from the Johns Hopkins University.

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