Five local companies are joining the Commerce Department’s mission to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, an effort to help U.S. businesses mingle with government and private entities in those countries.

The mission is particularly focused on cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection, an area in which many local government contractors are hoping to expand into commercial and overseas work.

The trip is to include receptions at the ambassador’s residences in Riyadh and Kuwait City, as well as one-on-one meetings with individuals at trade associations, companies and government organizations.

Of the 13 attending organizations, nearly half have local headquarters. Set to participate are Columbia-based Air Patrol; Fairfax-based Emagine IT; Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin ; Columbia-based Sourcefire ; and Hanover-based Tecore Networks — along with the District-based National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce.

Raytheon, which is based in Waltham, Mass., but has a local office, was also selected to attend.

Selected companies pay for the privilege; the fee is $3,911 for one representative of a small or medium-size company, and $4,288 for a large company — as well as the cost of most travel and lodging.

Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco J. Sánchez is set to lead the mission. He said the agency selected companies it thought would be successful.

“It’s probably cheaper to go on a trade mission than to go on a trip on your own, but it’s still an expense,” Sanchez said last week. “We want to make sure that companies are going to get a bang for their buck.”

AgustaWestland relocates

AgustaWestland North America said last week it has relocated its corporate headquarters from Reston to Crystal City to be closer to the Pentagon and other government customers.

The company, previously based in Reston’s Plaza America complex, has moved to 2345 Crystal Drive.

A company spokesman said the move relocated 21 employees.

Industry fighting reductions to NextGen program

Companies and trade groups are lining up to fight proposed cuts to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Next Generation Air Transportation System — or NextGen — program, set to implement satellite-based and digital technologies for air-traffic control.

The Aerospace Industries Association has teamed with McLean-based Exelis to hold what they’ve dubbed a “NextGen rally.”

The AIA will discuss a new report, which it says highlights the importance of the program’s technology. Among the scheduled speakers are Marion C. Blakey, president of AIA; Pamela Drew, president of Exelis’s information systems business; and Michael W. McCormick, executive director of the Global Business Travel Association.

The event will be held Monday morning at the J.W. Marriott at 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.

GAO backs Basic Overnight Quarters

The Government Accountability Office has upheld a protest filed by Wormleysburg, Pa.-based Basic Overnight Quarters, which had protested a State Department award to Falls Church-based Worldwide Corporate Housing and Herndon-based National Corporate Housing for long- and short-term temporary housing.

The GAO backed the company, finding that the agency was unreasonable and inconsistent in some of its evaluations.

“We recommend that the agency reevaluate proposals consistent with this decision, and make a new award determination,” the GAO wrote. It also recommended the State Department reimburse Basic Overnight Quarters for the cost of pursuing the protest.