Thursday, April 02, 2009

Landrieu Fights for Small-Business Contracts in Military Procurement Process

United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu [D-La.] wrote today to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin [D-Mich.] and Ranking Member John McCain [R-Ariz.] in support of the Weapons System Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 [S.454], which was marked up this morning.

Specifically, Sen. Landrieu indicated her support for Section 205, “Organizational Conflicts of Interest in the Acquisition of Major Weapon Systems,” and Section 203, “Maximization of Competition Throughout the Life Cycle of Major Defense Acquisition Programs,” which would increase meaningful opportunities for small businesses to compete for Department of Defense [DoD] projects.

Currently, the DoD procurement process sometimes lacks independent or objective analysis to determine the best firm for a particular contract. In her letter, Sen. Landrieu cited an example in which a small business was nearly put out of business because the DoD disregarded a conflict of interest when making a contracting decision.

With the help of the Small Business Innovation Research [SBIR] program, the company, NAVSYS Corporation, developed technology for a GPS navigation system for the Air Force, which the government found helpful. When the Air Force began to transition the technology into its GPS program, it asked the prime contractor to assess whether the technology should be used. The prime contractor, however, had a conflict of interest in determining whether the small business should get the contract or the prime contractor should do it themselves. The prime contractor ultimately decided to do it themselves.

“Small businesses are too often overlooked or harmed by the federal government’s contracting process,” Sen. Landrieu said today. “Section 205 of the Weapons System Acquisition Reform Act will go a long way toward protecting small businesses from conflicts of interest, while eliminating waste and inefficiency at the DoD.

“Section 203 of the bill would also help to maximize competition for defense acquisition contracts, which will help small businesses because it creates more potential opportunities for them to participate.”

Sen. Landrieu’s letter to Sens. Levin and McCain is available online at:

GoodBiz113's take: For far too long, greedy and gluttonous prime contractors have feasted at the DoD contracting table. It's time for them to share the wealth of DoD procurement opportunities with smaller, leaner and faster enterprises who bring real innovation and cost-effective efficiencies to the needs of our military forces. Bravo to Sen. Landrieu for her efforts to improve DoD's acquisition procedures to serve the greater good.

SOURCES: Library of Congress, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship

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