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Small Business Innovation for Civil Aviation SETA Projects

April 21, 2024

Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance (SETA) projects are essential for the US Government to achieve its mission objectives in various domains within public sector aviation.  SETA support contracts provide the government with expert guidance, analysis, and support throughout the acquisition lifecycle, from defining requirements and evaluating alternatives, to testing and deploying systems, and ensuring their sustainment and evolution. These projects require a high level of technical expertise, agility, and innovation, as they often deal with complex, dynamic, and uncertain environments and challenges.  Sometimes overlooked in the SETA support environment, is the high level of innovation which is often required to support government programs to reach their goals.  This is especially true in the current transformational era we are experiencing in United States civil aviation being brought in by programs such as the Automation Evolution Strategy and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Implementation Plan.

The small business community plays a vital role in supporting SETA projects, as they offer unique capabilities, perspectives, and solutions that complement and enhance the value to Government customers.  Small businesses are the engines of innovation in the United States which makes them critical to civil aviation government programs staying on the leading edge with aviation infrastructure programs.  Small businesses are vital for innovation and economic development in the United States. They account for 44% of the economic activity, 47.5% of the private sector employment, and 43.5% of the high-tech employment in the country, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). They also generate more patents per employee than large firms, a key indicator of innovation in the marketplace.

Small businesses can leverage their niche expertise, flexibility, and creativity to address the specific needs and gaps of the government customers, and to deliver innovative and cost-effective solutions that meet or exceed their expectations. Small businesses can also foster a culture of innovation and collaboration within the SETAecosystem, by engaging with other stakeholders, such as academia, industry, and end-users, and by participating in initiatives, such as prototyping, experimentation, and technology transition.

At Objective Area Solutions (OAS), we leverage our small business agility and innovation and match that with our deep understanding of the operational aviation environment to provide significant value to our government aviation customers.  Some examples include:

Interagency Support

As a small business within the complex landscape of governmental operations, OAS stands out for its innovative approach to interagency support, exemplified by its utilization of the OAS Framework for Interagency Relationships, Synergy, and Teamwork (FIRST™).

At the heart of OAS's innovation lies its commitment to providing a deliberate, comprehensive, and governed process for engaging stakeholders to tackle the most intricate problems faced by the Government.  What sets OAS apart is its seamless collaboration with various interagency partners, including the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). OAS’s activities founded on cross-cultural leadership and fostering continuous information sharing enhances cross-agency decision-making and influences the interoperability of systems within the NAS. This proactive approach ensures that aviation and defense operations are supported effectively while minimizing risks to the NAS and air traffic operations.

As a small business, OAS's innovative use of the FIRST™ framework not only showcases its ability to navigate complex interagency relationships but also underscores its pivotal role in enhancing the efficiency and resilience of critical government aviation operations.

Surveillance Data Topology

OAS envisioned and spearheaded an analysis project to understand the complexities of surveillance data interconnectivities that will be realized as the FAA moves closer and closer toa hyperconnected NAS.  OAS leveraged the analysis to provide comprehensive assessment of the surveillance data topology and cybersecurity and technical impacts to data sharing across government, commercial, and international stakeholders for a variety of applications, such as Air Traffic Control, Air Defense and Air Security.   This project provided foundational analysis that helped Government map critical connections as they transition to an IP-based environment and has contributed to OAS developing early stage prototype concepts for digital twin surveillance environments focused on advancing cybersecurity and contingency planning.

Radar Sustainment and Requirements Development

OAS stands out for its innovative support in complex divestiture programs within governmental operations. OAS’s process begins with a thorough understanding of current systems and stakeholder needs, leveraging our intimate understanding of the operational air traffic control environment, followed by engineering analysis and site selection to ensure operational continuity. OAS facilitates collaborative sessions to address safety and operational concerns comprehensively, offering tailored solutions to minimize risks. These efforts led to significant milestones, including securing approval for the permanent removal of a terminal radar, with an OAS team member providing primary field support for the project. Through proactive coordination and innovative solutions, OAS plays a pivotal role in the success of radar sustainability and divestiture initiatives within governmental operations.

Communications, Information Technology, and Cybersecurity

In addition to surveillance and radar projects, OAS brings value to other innovative programs that support the modernization and security of air traffic control systems. For example, OAS provides IT systems engineering and integration for the credentialing system that verifies the identity and qualifications of air traffic controllers and technicians. OAS also supports strategic planning and analysis to migrate legacy NAS operations to a cloud environment, enhancing efficiency and scalability. Additionally, OAS conducts cybersecurity table top exercises to assess the vulnerability and resilience of critical air traffic infrastructure against cyber threats. By leveraging its expertise and innovation in communications, information technology, and cybersecurity, OAS delivers solutions that enhance the safety and performance of the national airspace system.


Today and in the future, innovation in the small business community is crucial for the success and sustainability of the SETA projects, and for the advancement and security of the US Government mission objectives. As the US Government continues to develop the future of air traffic infrastructure to support the emerging global aviation transformation, small business provides a critical role in which the SETA ecosystem can benefit from the increased value, diversity, and competitiveness that the small business community can offer.  

About Objective Area Solutions, LLC

Objective Area Solutions, LLC(OAS) is an aviation-focused team of proven leaders committed to propelling our clients’ success. OAS provides consulting services in the areas of engineering, program management, organizational development, safety, security, and training. OAS is a four-time awardee on the INC 5000 and has been named on the VET 100list of the fastest growing veteran-owned businesses in the US for the last three years in a row. For more information, visit www.objectivearea.com

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