DISA Only Wants Tailored Pitches from Vendors

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A Pentagon official said DISA doesn’t want to hear about how your solution worked for industry. If you don’t have a unique pitch for DISA, don’t bother.

The Defense Information Systems Agency—the warfighter’s IT shop—is very interested in hearing what solutions and capabilities industry has to offer, but only in the context of how those technologies can be applied to the military’s specific needs.

“We tend to break capabilities that work in industry. I’ve seen it time and time again over the years,” Dave Bennett, director of DISA’s Operations Center, said Monday during the annual Forecast to Industry. “If you come in and you try to sell me on widget XYZ and you want to cite a scenario where you used it in industry … I will zero my mind out. I will be singing ‘la-la-la’ in the back of my head. Because what you did in industry, nine times out of 10 will not apply in my space.”

Instead, Bennett urged vendors to come armed with specific knowledge of the DISA environment they’re looking to support and a direct pitch on how their solution would benefit the agency and the warfighter.

For instance, if you are pitching an enterprise email service, be sure you know exactly how many users are active on the systems your company would support, he suggested.

“To that level of detail, understand our space. And then understand—and help us understand—how leveraging your capability makes us faster, better, more secure, more resilient, more prone to supporting whatever the warfighter needs at the point in time he needs it, wherever he needs it on a global basis.”

“It’s just a reality of the world we operate in,” Bennett said. “You come and tell us how to use your capability in our areas. It’s the only way it’ll work.”