Single small-business contract goal gains favor

NSA's Mark Clark welcomes one goal for contracting.

Henrik G. de Gyor

Defense Department and NASA procurement officials are backing a plan to create a single small-business contracting goal.

A single goal would give agencies credit for their subcontracting with small businesses, said Scott Denniston, director of the Veterans Affairs Department's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization. Currently, only prime contracts with small businesses count toward agencies' goals for small-business contracting.

Defense and NASA support the plan drafted by procurement officials to do away with individual targets that agencies negotiate with the Office of Management and Budget, Denniston said.

Defense officials are drafting a legislative proposal that would give the department one goal across all its agencies, said Mark Clark, deputy chief of acquisition plans and policy at the National Security Agency.

Denniston and Clark spoke last week at the Industry Advisory Council's ELC.

Denniston said VA doesn't have the contracting staff to completely track its progress on the multiple small-business goals negotiated by VA bureaus.

Clark said he'd welcome one goal because it would save time and money.

'It's so difficult for us to look at subcontractor participation to see if [the primes] are doing a good job,' he said. 'We don't have the time. A combined goal will allow us to more accurately represent the dollars going to small businesses.'

Governmentwide, 23 percent of prime contract dollars are supposed to go to small businesses each year.

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