DOD’s COCOMs: Unique Opportunities and Requirements

Stephanie Meloni_65x85by Stephanie Meloni, Senior Analyst

Among theDOD’s COCOMs: Unique Opportunities and Requirements public sector IT industry there’s a common misconception that the Combatant Commands (COCOMs) have no information technology budget, they operate purely at the discretion of the Service Branches, and offer little in the way of procurement opportunities for COTS vendors. To be fair, the COCOMs have complex and dissimilar budget structures that muddle the buckets of money spent on IT, making it difficult to determine how and where money is being allocated. Misperceptions are understandable.

Some may be surprised to learn IT funding for the COCOMs does not always originate from the Services. For example, Functional commands like U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) and U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) get IT budgets appropriated from Congress. TRANSCOM’s IT budget request for FY16 is $444M and SOCOM’s is $287M. Also, the COCOMs have some autonomy for purchasing technologies and offer potent procurement opportunities IT vendors shouldn’t ignore.

The key to capitalizing on this unique territory within DOD, as with the rest of the Department, is understanding the priorities of each command, knowing who the key decision-makers are, and identifying funded programs. This is easier said than done, given the different budgets and structures across each COCOM. The lesson here is a one-size-fits-all approach is simply impossible. Vendors need to custom tailor their messaging according to the unique environments, missions, and cultures of each COCOM.

For example, SOCOM has a much different mission than CYBERCOM, and thus has different budget structures, organizational structures, mission priorities, and acquisition strategies. In some commands, the J6 office may be the primary decision maker. In others, acquisition officials may be driving purchases. Nevertheless, across the functional COCOMs, there are some cross-cutting requirements for technology. Many COTS opportunities at the COCOMs center on information management, information security, and information sharing requirements.

To learn more about COTS sales opportunities within the COCOMs, including key decision-makers and organizations, as well as IT programs that include data, information management, and cybersecurity technologies, please view the on-demand COCOMs Sales Opportunities Webinar that took place on Wednesday, April 22. Click here to watch now.

LinkedIntranetIf you found this post helpful, make sure to add me to your network on LinkedIn @Stephanie Meloni.

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