Vet-exclusive procurements to come by June

The long-awaited Veterans Technology Services Governmentwide Acquisition Contract will be awarded by June, General Services Administration officials said yesterday. Officials also announced an upsurge in fiscal 2005 revenues from small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.

The GWAC is a large information technology procurement exclusively for small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. Solicitations came out more than a year ago.

John Moliere, an advocate for veteran-owned businesses, said yesterday that awards had been held up long enough.

“I would like to see it announced in conjunction with Memorial Day,” Moliere said.

He believes the GWAC will augment the revenue numbers directed to businesses owned by service-disabled veterans above the 3 percent of contract dollars that congressional directives from 1999 and 2003 mandated agencies set aside for such businesses.

In fiscal 2005, revenues jumped 500 percent, bringing in $600 million last year, up from $120 million in 2004, GSA said in a press release. The increase comes as President Bush pushes an initiative aimed at sending more government business toward such firms.

GSA schedules list vendors eligible to sell a broad range of goods and services, such as IT, professional services and military supplies, to federal agencies.

GSA’s acting administrator, David Bibb, called this "a great start for Operation Breakout." Operation Breakout is the agency’s initiative supporting Executive Order 13360 — Providing Opportunities for Service Disabled Veteran Businesses to Increase their Federal Contracting and Subcontracting — to increase government business with service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.

Moliere, a Vietnam veteran and president of consulting company Standard Communications, was pleased with today’s news on the revenue numbers, saying this was a move in the right direction.

But Moliere, who helped write parts of the executive order, said “the number could be even better if the federal agencies had the…GWAC tool to work with."

According to a Small Business Administration report compiled from Federal Procurement Data System information, only 0.38 percent of contracting dollars in fiscal 2004 went to businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.

Operation Breakout began in 2004, the same year Bush signed the executive order.

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