Defense bill would boost small business contracting goal

The House Armed Services Committee has proposed raising the government’s annual small-business contracting goal and giving business advocates more authority throughout the acquisition process.

The fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4301) would have the government set the overall contracting goal at 25 percent of the total value of all prime contracts for each fiscal year, not 23 percent as it currently stands. The government would also have to strive to award 40 percent of its subcontracts to small businesses.

The goals for individual categories of businesses, such as companies owned by women or service-disabled veterans, would remain the same.

“Improving small business opportunities for federal contracts is a triple play,” Rep. Sam Graves, chairman of the Small Business Committee, told the committee in testimony in April. 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. He urged the committee to add small-business provisions into the bill.

In a recent report, a special panel of Armed Services Committee members 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 a result, the authorization bill would elevate the role of the small-business advocate within DOD. It would require officials to write up guidance to ensure the director of each of the small business programs participates in the requirements development phase of an acquisition and the decision-making process.

In addition, the bill would strengthen and clarify the role of DOD’s procurement center representatives, who advocate for small businesses within the department. The representatives would be able to review and make recommendations related to acquisition plans and procurement methods.

DOD would also have to designate an official in each defense audit agency to consider small business issues. They would advise their agency on small-business matters and be the primary point person for companies. Furthermore, they would develop ways for the agency to finish small companies’ audits faster.

The bill would expand the definition of a bundled contract and eliminate procedures related to contract consolidation. It would exclude contracts under $2 million dollars generally, or contracts under $5 million for construction, from the definition of a bundled contract. It would exclude contracts for major defense acquisition programs.

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.