Headquartered in Alexandria, VA; Systems Planning and Analysis (SPA) provides knowledge-based technical, operational, programmatic, policy and business solutions to support national security objectives. The company’s core capabilities include operations research, modeling and simulation (M&S), risk assessment, geospatial analysis, data science, wargaming, synthetic training environments and 3D modeling.
Since SPA’s genesis, the U.S. Department of the Navy comprises most of its customer portfolio. This includes SPA’s support of the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) for more than 45 years, where the company provides technical services, arms control support, program support, assessments, training support for managing high risk technologies, special studies and systems engineering for the Trident II Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile Strategic Weapons System. This remains an important mission for SPA, demonstrated through the recent hire of Thomas Troyano who will strengthen SPA’s nuclear program portfolio supporting the military services and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
In recent years, the U.S. Navy has begun to take up a smaller percentage of SPA’s customer portfolio as they win work in other U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) agencies, such as the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the U.S. Department of the Air Force (USAF).
In February 2017, SPA protested a contract award to Leidos aimed at developing research programs and training to combat biological threats for DTRA. Although the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied the protest, it demonstrates SPA’s desire to move into adjacent DoD markets.
Private equity ownership changes SPA
In October 2021, Arlington Capital Partners acquired SPA from CM Equity and merged it with another acquisition, MCR Federal, under the combined name of SPA. MCR provides program management services to defense, intelligence and civilian government agencies. MCR brings a presence in the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), including a five-year contract providing advanced technical expertise to develop lightweight software prototypes and services enabling U.S. Space Force’s (USSF) Government-led Kobayashi Maru software factory to deliver software capabilities to space warfighters at increased velocity.
This acquisition and subsequent merger follows an interesting trend of private equity companies buying and selling mid-tier government contractors. Note that Arlington Capital Partners also owns Octo, BlueHalo and Tyto Athene.
In December 2021, SPA used its new private equity backing to acquire Arena Technologies, expanding its presence on government advisory and assistance programs. Arena Technologies is a provider of systems engineering and advisory services to space and Intelligence Community (IC) customers.
Breaking into new DoD agencies
SPA’s customer footprint has become more diversified from the following recent and notable wins:
- U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), Subject Matter Expertise Advisory and Assistance Support– In July 2021, DTRA awarded SPA a four-year, $185 million ceiling value contract to support the Research and Development Directorate by providing research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) subject matter expertise advisory and assistance support. This covers chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear subject matter expertise; science and technology (S&T) development program integration; and interagency coordination.
- U.S. Department of the Air Force, U.S. Space Force (USSF), Technical and Engineering Support– In February 2020, USSPACECOM awarded SPA a five-year, $13 million ceiling value contract to provide technical, engineering, and executive staff to support the Director, Space Systems Command (SSC) Program Management Office (PMO). SPA provides technical and engineering oversight of the design, construction and mission equipment integration for critical space command and control facilities.
- U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Modeling and Simulation (M&S) Support Services BPA– In August 2019, DARPA awarded SPA a five-year, $19 million BPA to provide military operations analysis, concepts of operations development, subject matter expertise, and system-level experimentation and demonstration to DARPA programs and offices.
- U.S. Department of the Air Force, U.S. Space Force (USSF), Space Systems Command (SSC), Military Satellite Communications Directorate Support – In July 2018, SPA (via legacy MCR) was awarded a five-year, $64 million ceiling value contract to provide SSC with acquisition and financial support for military satellite communications programs.
The FedSavvy Strategies takeaway
- SPA’s acquisition activity and recent contract wins indicate an increasing focus on space. SPA will likely execute additional investments in this area, especially as the space domain becomes a highly contested environment.
- As SPA is now a mid-tier company owned by private equity, expect them to be re-packaged and re-sold in the next few years.
- With increased capital fueling portfolio diversification, SPA is on track to emerge from the mid-sized tier and gain presence outside the Navy, specifically in DTRA, DARPA and the Air Force.
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