You have the right tools; a great product or service — everyone wants it — you even have a Government Services Administration (GSA) contract that says you can sell to Uncle Sam, so what problems could you possibly have? Oh yeah, Money! Money! Money! Not one of those tools can produce a signature on an order if the customer has no money, and in many cases has very little knowledge as to when or how much. The following provides a basic, short review of the Department of Defenses (DOD) process and discusses some ways to help you and your potential customer, in short “show me the money.”
The Department of Defense (DOD) goes through a planning, programming, budgeting and execution (PPBE) process that includes a service and agency specific Program Objective Memorandum (POM). The POM is a document created in order to request future year funds and supports force structure, manpower, resource dollars and procurement funding requirements.
In short, creation of a POM starts with understanding the instructions provided in the Defense Planning Guidance and input from all the commands. As a consolidated submission, the POM is forwarded from each of the services to the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) for consolidation at the DOD level. This is accomplished every two years (odd years only) and includes:
-Request for future funding for four (4) future years
-Budget estimate for the next two (2) years
(Example: In FY-2014 you’re spending 2013, budgeting for 2015&2016 and requesting funds for 2017-2020.)
Consider the request as “seed money” for future projects, and that once the money is provided out to all the services from OSD, you can quickly see the importance of understanding the initial guidelines –and staying focused on DOD priorities, programs and requirements. Everyone that submits a POM understands that the chance for 100% funding is almost impossible, at least when they want it. Therefore knowing the POM Core (ceiling for each command), staying in tune with priorities and understanding missions are critical to receiving the right dollars.
In short, very short, that is the POM process. How can we inject into that process and help everyone that has a need for our product or service? Here are a few key tasks/steps that may help:
Do your homework. Obtain the Defense Planning Guidance every year and understand what the requirements, missions and submissions will look like for each of the services you’re going to approach. Also, find out who is on the various POM Working Groups (PWG) — that gather to ensure requirements and mission responsibilities and match funding requests that are created.
1. Assist the potential customer to create Justification Statements as to why the funding is needed.
2. Assist the potential customer in creating Impact Statements that explain what cannot be accomplished if funding is not provided. Help address the shortfalls and gaps that may result in reduced funding as well as what efficiencies can be gained with the dollars.
ABOVE ALL BE PATIENT. When approaching the Federal Government, and particularly DOD, it can be a long process and you must stay engaged along the way. Influencing the requirements early is the key and then all the other tools become critical in order to maximum benefit to all.
Defense Fiscal Guidelines are provided in April and POM submission in the August, however constant communication with the filed is critical to stay on track for future dollars. Contact me via LinkedIn, Twitter or on the Lowry Solutions site if you are looking at solutions and have run into a money wall. The keys to Fort Knox take a long time to make but once you have one, “it’s all good”!