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Building business:

Choctaw Defense’s defense against recession

Camel_II
Graphic provided by Choctaw Defense
The Camel II water system

Choctaw Defense, one of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s (CNO) leading business enterprises, earned a sizable contract on Sept. 27, 2013, through Army Contracting Command New Jersey, at the Picatinny Arsenal installation in New Jersey.

The contract is for “the fabrication, testing, inspection, and delivery of the Platform Integration Kits (PIK) and/or spare parts to the U.S. Army,” according to V.P. of Public Relations Keith Briem of Choctaw Defense. These Platform Integration Kits are used to interface between the platform and the Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station (CROWS) weapon station components.

Briem explained CROWS as a lightweight, remotely versatile and externally mounted weapon system that allows a gunner to remain inside a vehicle protected by armor, all while firing a variety of crew served weapons. The CROWS will provide protection for the gunner and offer enhanced target acquisition, identification and engagement capabilities.

The contract, a five-year firm fixed price (FFP) Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract, was awarded to Choctaw Defense and one other competitor. With this type of contract, as orders are placed from the buyer, Choctaw Defense and their competitor place bids for who will fill the order.

There is up to $42 million on the line over a five-year period. These contracts are set in place as a type of safety net for buyers, where-in if one provider was not able to complete the order, the other would be able to take over the remainder of the contract. There is also a minimum guarantee for $200,000 for each base contract award, meaning that if the buyer canceled the contract, Choctaw Defense would be guaranteed the $200,000.

“This was a competitive bid among other small businesses. Successful completion of the PIK contract would open doors to other manufacturing opportunities associated with military armored vehicles, tanks and tank component manufacturing,” stated Briem.

He went on to mention tactical wheeled vehicle manufacturing and maintenance is a core business in military manufacturing, making it a source of constant demand for services Choctaw Defense can provide. Not only the manufacture of new items, but the maintenance and upgrading of equipment already in use is a market in which Choctaw Defense has a strong interest.

The award of this contract will insure continued work for Choctaw Defense employees assigned to the CROWS project. Everyone from machinists to welders and labors will have steady employment in the McAlester plant for the remainder of the contract.

Though Choctaw Defense has secured business for the foreseeable future, it has not stopped honing its long-term vision. With eyes set on the continued involvement with the tactical wheeled vehicle arena, the administration is preparing for a more diversified business plan, assuring it will be an agile competitor in the market for years to come.

“Choctaw Defense has continued to focus on growth and the creation of jobs by expanding its business base,” stated Briem. Over the past year Choctaw Defense has added two new companies to the Choctaw Defense group of businesses.

Choctaw Defense has begun to focus on services in alignment with manufacturing. Businesses are now able to contract Choctaw Defense to undertake projects such as laying cable in structures and providing security within completed buildings. They will also provide logistics and crew training, technical support services and Information Technology support service.

Also a new branch to Choctaw Defense is Architects in Partnership Enterprises (AIPe), which operates as a Limited Liability Company within Architects in Partnership (AIP) and is headquartered in Norman.

AIPe specializes in the planning and design of government, commercial, and educational facilities, providing services that range from master planning to design and construction administration.

AIPe will also allow Choctaw Defense to compete internally. When CNO plans to construct facilities, it is mandated they must bid out the contracts. AIPe’s presence allows CNO to essentially bid the work to itself, keeping the dollars from leaving the Nation.

The U.S. Navy has also awarded Choctaw Defense a performance standard contract to design and manufacture the next generation field service body bed for the M915A3 20-ton truck. McAlester will be the home of this project along with the PIK contract.

The recently awarded contracts along with current contracts will insure continued manufacturing opportunities for the next 2-3 years, according to Briem.

With the acquisition of the new contracts and the addition of the two new ventures, Choctaw Defense is growing steadily and sustainably. Ongoing activities at Choctaw Defense manufacturing plants include the MTVR trailer contract for the U.S. Marine Corps. Choctaw Defense has produced 1,700 to date and is still rolling more off the lot.

The CAMEL II water system, a storage unit that allows soldiers to have pure and cool drinking water in the field, is also a sizable current contract. Battle Damage Repair Kits and C17 scissor lifts are staples in Choctaw Defense’s business as well.

For more information, visit choctawdefense.com
Defense