Small businesses can learn how to join the $6 billion efforts of the Missile Defense Agency in defending the US and allies

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The Von Braun Center in Huntsville is buzzing with talk about one of the most important agencies for the defense of the United States:  the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

Thursday is day two of a two-day conference attracting hundreds of people from across the country to learn about the MDA and all of the support that's needed to keep it running to protect the U.S. and its allies around the world.

The 12th annual Missile Defense Small Business Conference is an opportunity for small businesses to get in on the billions of dollars the agency is given each year to protect the country.

A spokesman for the MDA said this is an excellent networking opportunity for businesses working with the MDA and others that want to do work with the agency.

The MDA receives about $6 billion each year to do their work.  They rely heavily on small businesses.

For a $250 registration fee, people can access training and guest speakers talking about developments in the industry, upcoming projects and job opportunities.

"We have some training sessions to help them when they're putting together proposals for a variety of activities that we have going on that we seek folks," said MDA Spokesman Lee Rosenberg.  "We'll discuss organizational conflict of interest and how that works."

On day two, program managers will be there to talk about several major programs, local and national.

The keynote speaker will be John James, executive director for MDA.  Also speaking will be the Director for Small Business Programs for the US Secretary of Defense.

People can still register at the door at the South Hall of the Von Braun Center.

Even college students are encouraged to attend, due to the opportunities of networking and making connections for future employment.

"The whole afternoon on Thursday will be devoted to folks being able to sign up.. kinda like a speed-dating matching making services, where they can sign up for 15 minute one-on-one sessions with a variety and host of folks, both large businesses that support us as well as agency program offices," said Rosenberg.

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