AF leadership discuss opportunities for small businesses

  • Published
  • By Capt. Adam Livermore
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

NEWTON, Mass. -- Hanscom acquisition leaders took part in a panel held by Hanscom's Small Business Office March 27 to discuss building and maintaining relationships with small businesses.

The panel included senior leadership representatives from Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, U.S. Small Business Administration, and the U.S. General Services Administration. One of the main themes of the discussion was why small business is important to Hanscom Air Force Base.

“Besides the standard reasons of diversifying the defense industrial base and optimizing our performance with the right mix of partners, we really like working with small business because it challenges us to better understand our systems, our programs and our competitive strategies,” said Steve Wert, program executive officer for Digital. “It forces us to better understand information technology and data rights. It motivates us.”

“Small business has been a part of our innovation drive and has really gotten the focus it needed over the past five or six years,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Genatempo, program executive officer of Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks. “We are doing very well and we are still on an upward trend.”

Another theme of the discussion was regarding the best ways for small businesses to network with the Department of the Air Force and how to showcase their capabilities.

“We have a wonderful facility called the Lantern located right here on Hanscom Air Force Base,” said Genatempo. “It is a collaborative space at multiple security levels with multiple connectivity and connex space with the ability to connect to other systems in order to run initial benchboard testing.”

There are several demo days scheduled throughout the year; the largest is an event called “Light the Lantern.” In addition, there is a Lantern symposium coming up in May.

Officials discussed other ways for small businesses to engage such as meeting with the Hanscom small business office, networking with prime contractors, attending Small Business Administration matchmaking events and scheduling capability briefings with Hanscom AFB Program Executive Officers, General Services Administration and SBA.

Khanh Nguyen, a New England Region 1 procurement center representative for the U.S. Small Business Administration, provided details on new legislation that will have the largest impact to small businesses. One of these new regulations is the accelerated rule, which states that small business prime contractors need to be paid within 15 days of submission of a proper invoice. It also requires agencies to establish accelerated payments to large prime contractors that subcontract with small businesses. This regulation was enacted to help alleviate cashflow issues small businesses were experiencing as either prime or subcontractors. Another change to regulation in 2023 is women-owned and veteran-owned small businesses will now need to go through the Small Business Administration for certification.

To contact the Hanscom Small Business Programs Office, email Director Jeff Emmons at, or Deputy Director Andrea Panagoulias at