DOD could create new small-business set-asides

Defense Department agencies could gain the power to have some multiple-award contract task orders set aside for small businesses under an amendment in the Senate's Defense Authorization bill.

Called "Fair Access to Multiple Award Contracts," the passage applies to General Services Administration schedule contracts and other multiple-award vehicles. Larry Allen, executive vice president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, described the amendment as a "watered-down version" of a measure Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) first introduced.

"It would allow, but not require, ordering agencies to set aside specific [multiple-award contracts] and schedule task orders for small businesses," Allen said. "I think many agencies already do this, but that the statutory basis for such actions has been murky. This would seem to clean it up and let agencies do what they may already have been doing. It is a better approach than setting aside schedule task orders for small businesses on a mandatory basis."

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