Navigating the Defense Market

Starting around 2015, the Department of Defense (DoD) began to substantially emphasize and expand its outreach to “nontraditional” companies – that is, companies who don’t normally do business with DoD. From new “innovation offices” such as the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to initiatives within traditional military labs and program offices (such as the Army’s xTech Search) and beyond, the Pentagon has made it a point to attract and engage companies with limited to no experience winning and performing government contracts. While some of these efforts have made it easier to get a foot in the door, including lower barriers to obtaining relatively small amounts of funding, the bulk of the Defense market remains elusive to new entrants.

This guide is a living resource to help further lower barriers, enabling companies to focus their efforts on delivering new capabilities, while minimizing time wasted on discovering basic info, determining which offices to engage, and establishing realistic expectations.

If you have feedback, please reach out to us at We hope this resource serves you, and we appreciate your help making it better.

Special thanks to the Industrial Base Policy Office and those who helped in the creation of this guide:
Christopher Zember
Ben McMartin
Dave Rothzeid
Trish Martinelli
Justin Fanelli
Erringer Helbling
Mica Dolan
Michael Schweitzer