How to Convert a $9.99 War Game into a $15.2 Million Tactical Simulation Training System

During 2015, Federal account executives, directors and managers have been busy influencing our clients into selecting us for contract award. Now it is holiday season, when we can spend a little time with our kids. We now have to write our proposals on how to overcome the disconnect with our kids which is primarily due to generation differences.

When I say kids, I mean kids from 40 year olds down to 10 because if you have a 40 year old son or daughter, let’s face it, we still see them as our “kids”.

Question is how to resolve the disconnect in generations and how to overcome the burns and bruises of years in our relationship with our kids. What to do so that we don’t hear the phrase “You just don’t understand me” anymore? This is where proposal writing comes into play. Before the holidays, we held a meeting in our company and put all our experience together so that we would have the best outcome from the upcoming holidays. Here is goes:

As a proposal manager you need to put yourself in the shoes of the evaluator and write your proposal so he likes it. Let me put that in another perspective that is in context with these days. You GIVE so that you can RECEIVE. The more effort you put into your proposal to make it exactly what the evaluator wants, the more the chances you get a winner. So the more your give, the more chances that you receive (an award).

Now let’s put that logic into our relationship with our kids. Here are some suggestions to bridge the gap and get closer to your kids:

  1. Be the Unilateral Giver. Even if your kid doesn’t comprehend you in the beginning, this formula always works out.
  2. Don’t try to make your kid be like you. Instead, in line with Giving, try to understand what he/she wants to be, likes and cherishes. Then ask your kid to show it you. Learn those strange slang words and strange ways they communicate with each other. It is strange to our generation but not to them.
  3. Remember that Kids have their emotions, and frankly they are more emotional than us (perhaps I should say more humane?) so don’t play with their emotions and yet try to comprehend them.
  4. Show your kid that what is important to him/her, is also important to you. Ask about details and provide questions that show you care about your kid’s thoughts.
  5. We all have egos. Don’t play on your kid’s ego and when your ego is agitated by your kid, don’t forget that you are the Giver, so ignore it. So what, he/she has said something that you don’t like. Your house will not burn down in fire, and all hell will not break out! Just forgive.
  6. Plan your holidays to what your kids like. Let’s make it an experience for them. Your experience this time should be to get closer to your kids.


On December 17th the DoD announced that a $26.6 million contract has been awarded to Cole Engineering Services to deliver a simulation system, known as Marine Air Ground Task Force Tactical Warfare Simulation System (MTWS), for the U.S. Marines Corps’ Program Manager Training Systems.

Flashing back, I remembered the month of December of the year 2000, 15 years ago, when I was hard at work preparing a proposal for a client who wanted to sell a simulation package to a foreign friendly country. That country had Russian (eastern) made weapon systems and needed a practical tactical simulation training system.

Our client was facing a hard time providing a solution. On the one hand,
through their connections, they were sure they could capture the contract if they could provide a viable solution and on the other hand, their simulation software were based on Western weapons system and even then not an all-compassing offering at all.

Near Christmas time, I was looking to buy a gift for my son when I came across a game called “Operation Flash Point”. I checked it out and immediately realized that I had the solution for my client. Being a simulation training expert myself, I realized that this “game” could easily be customized to be used as a serious war game and training system.

We eventually won the proposal which made a hefty $15.5 million contract. The real cost of each software package was $9.99 and overall my client told me that their cost was $3.2 million for the entire contract.

I was actually involved in the training process as well. We would setup some 60 PCs (Pentium IIs) and each tank or troop carrier was represented by 3 PCs (driver, gunman and commander) and a whole tank company could make maneuvers together. Each participating armored company was trained in the six warfighting functional areas of fires, command and control, aviation, logistics, maneuver, and intelligence. In fact the system was used to teach doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures during platoon and company offensive, defensive, and patrolling operations.

In addition, the software allowed us to create real life terrains specific to our client’s country and its borders. Thus the armored platoons and companies could be trained on terrain that was familiar to them and they could relate to in real combat.

As a final note, the Operation Flash Point military merit was later confirmed when it was adopted by the Marines (USMC) and with some modifications, the Virtual Battlespace System 1 (VBS1) was conceived. It was later refined to VBS2 and as far as I know, more than 10 US military organization as well as 6 foreign countries (including UK and Australia) have used this software in their trainings.

From the perspective of proposal writing, the point I wanted to make is that if you are a subject matter expert in the area of the proposal you are writing, the chances of success for your proposal is increased exponentially (and in this case millions of dollars of profit for my customer). Conversely, if you want to win a proposal and you are not a subject matter expert in that area, let go of your ego and bring in an expert and work under him.

By |2018-01-08T09:49:03+00:00December 30th, 2015|Capture Management, Proposal Writing|Comments Off on How to Convert a $9.99 War Game into a $15.2 Million Tactical Simulation Training System

About the Author:

Ab Vand has more than 25 years of proposal writing and capture management experience on government contracts especially in defense, construction, and IT sectors. Ab has a track record of writing over 100 successful proposals for above $1 million contracts. Ab is currently the VP of Capture and Proposal Development at GDI Consulting, a well-established firm on proposal writing and contract management. Ab has written a number of articles on proposal writing and capture management, and regularly holds training courses for companies and individuals on ways to improve their winning chances.