Procurement

Task force tackles veteran contracting challenges

military businessman

Veteran-owned small businesses are the subject of a presidential task force's work. (Stock image)

A task force of agency officials and veteran-group leaders will meet Feb. 11 to resume work on acquisition challenges including achieving small-business contracting goals, mentor-protégé matches and reducing procurement paperwork.

The Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development was created by a presidential executive order in 2010. Its goal is to work with agencies to improve federal contracting opportunities for veterans. In 2011, the task force submitted its first report with 18 recommendations that were applicable to veteran-owned firms.

The task force is coordinating efforts with agencies to improve government's small business contracting with veterans and service-disabled veterans. At this meeting, the task force will focus on increasing the integrity of agencies' small-business certifications, a concern brought up in several Government Accountability Office and inspectors general reports.

In its 2011 report, the task force suggested the government could determine whether a company qualified as "veteran" by measuring the number for veterans it employed. This approach, which could be used either in addition to or in place of of the current "veteran-owned" standard, would be similar to the criteria used for Historically Underutilized Business Zones. A company is a considered a HUBZone firm if at least 35 percent of its employees live in that zone. Neither Congress nor the administration, however, has moved to implement the recommendation.

The Feb. 11 meeting will be at the Small Business Administration's headquarters, starting at 9 a.m.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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