Contracting reforms could come in the next defense authorization bill

Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairman of the Small Business Committee, today said he would like several small-business contracting reforms, including a proposal to boost the annual small business contracting goal, in the new defense authorization bill.

The measures he would like to see, embodied in eight bills that his own committee approved in March, complement those that the Armed Services Committee’s own Panel on Business Challenges has recommended, he said.

He made the recommendation to the Armed Services Committee in a hearing in which several House members asked the committee to include their suggested language in the Fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. The committee is expected to release its language for the bill May 7.

“Improving small business opportunities for federal contracts is a triple play,” Graves told the committee in testimony. Small companies win more contracts, which create jobs. The companies also bring more competition and innovation to the market. The government saves money through competition and the industrial base stays healthy.

The panel concluded that small businesses face particular challenges in contracting with the Defense Department. DOD lacks a culture that fosters small business participation. More broadly, DOD has a confusing acquisition rulebook that constantly changes.

As for small-business reforms, one bill would raise the governmentwide small business contracting goal from 23 percent to 25 percent with budgetary consequences for missing the mark. Others would increase the level of responsibility for small-business advocates inside each agency, improve mentor-protégé programs and tackle unjustified contract bundling.

Another bill would address a deceptive contracting practice called pass-throughs. In a pass-through, a small company wins a contract set aside just for certain companies and then passes the majority of the work onto a large company.

About the Author

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

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.