How one big defense contractor is staying nimble

Welcome to CapBiz A.M., your morning primer on business news with a focus on Washington.

Commercial appeal: London-based BAE Systems, one of the world’s largest military contractors, has announced two new corporate partnerships meant to help the company gain a foothold in the U.S. commercial sector as federal defense spending shrinks. And in return, its new partners hope to gain some leverage in the federal procurement arena. (CAPBIZ)

‘Questionable’ costs: Northrop Grumman improperly charged the U.S. government more than $100 million on a counter-narcoterrorism contract, according to a Defense Department inspector general’s report. The Falls Church contractor says it is cooperating with the inquiry, which involves a subcontractor.

Cash infusion: Four Maryland start-ups have been awarded $100,000 as part of the state’s InvestMaryland Challenge, including two in Montgomery County. One connects patients and doctors through a mobile app, wile the other makes helmet sensors that help detect concussions. (WBJ)

Checking out: Thayer Lodging Group, an Annapolis-based private equity firm founded by former Marriott International executives, was purchased for undisclosed amount by a Toronto-based property-investment firm, the companies confirmed Tuesday. (CAPBIZ)

Defensive move: District-based investment bank England & Co. LLC is launching a new aerospace, defense and government services division and has tapped a longtime contracting veteran to guide the effort. (WBJ)

Record recall: General Motors is recalling another 2.4 million cars and trucks, bringing the total number of vehicles called in to repair defects this year to 13.6 million in the United States – a new record. Of course, the costs are starting to pile up, too. (WP)

A tablet to takeover? Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a new, larger tablet, the Surface Pro 3, which it bills as a complete replacement for consumers’ laptops. Thing is, we’ve heard that from the company before. (AP)

CEOs applauded: President Barack Obama played the role of business pitchman Tuesday, saluting 11 executives whose companies have chosen to gain or expand a footprint in the United States. Meanwhile, Congress is busy trying to make sure businesses don’t go the other direction. (AP)

On Wall Street

Stocks slid lower on Tuesday after several large retailers, included Staples and Dick’s Sporting Goods, posted disappointing earnings. (Get the latest updates here)

What’s on tap today

MBA purchase applications (7:30 a.m.)

Janet Yellen speech (11:30 a.m.)

Federal Open Market Committee minutes (2:00 p.m.)

Northern Virginia Technology Council panel discussion on international business threats (7:15 a.m.)

Affinity Labs branding boot camp event (6:00 p.m.)

Rep. Suzan DelBene speaking at Startup Grind DC (6:00 p.m.)

Help: Don’t make these five common mistakes when reaching out to investors (OSB)

Follow: Startup Grind DC

Extra: The new political campaign contribution: “I’ll get my employees to vote for you.” (WP)

J.D. Harrison covers startups, small business and entrepreneurship, with a focus on public policy, and he manages the Post's On Small Business blog.
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J.D. Harrison | May 20