When it comes to federal contracts, Global Diversity News has been at the forefront of  questioning the government’s overall goals.  From a small increase with women-owned firms to a legal battle over the percentage of spend actually going to small businesses, we have constantly asked for a deeper dive into the government small business contracting process.

Recently, Section 838 of the annual National Defense Authorization Act would have made it possible for “the Department of Defense to count subcontracts with small businesses on big weapons programs against the agency’s prime contract goals.”  This in turn could have eliminated up to $22 billion in prime contracting dollars for small businesses.  Eventually,
Section 838 was stripped for the legislation passage of 2017’s budget, however there are rumblings that the Section will be added for 2018’s fiscal year.

According to Forbes, the big issue is the complexity of the contracts.  “The Senate Armed Services Committee had justified the original provision by arguing that it would allow more small businesses to compete for pieces of these big-ticket weapons systems, known as major defense acquisition programs, which it claimed are effectively too complex for small business participation.“  Time will tell if this is true as Congress has pledge to commit resources to investigate the claim.

I for one don’t buy it.

The Federal government does not utilize its resources properly (that’s not my comment but words I’ve heard from countless small businesses doing work for the government today).  If the Department of Defense is having issues finding qualified small businesses, why not allow for multiple organizations to take  on contracts?  Why not create better programs that grow small firms into the companies we need for the future?  Why is our government not investing in American Defense businesses to grow their capabilities?

As we move further into 2017, I hope more solutions are offered to help save the $22 billion for small organizations.  Under a new administration, this may happen but something must be done to move this process in the correct direction.

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