DoD Carries Weight of Governmentwide Small Business Goal

October 9, 2012

For the federal government to finally hit its 23 percent small business goal, the Defense Department will have to step up its efforts to contract with small firms. But the nature of DoD's large contracts often leave out small companies.

In four of the last five years, if DoD had made its small business contracting goal, the federal government would have hit its overall goal. In fiscal 2011, the government fell $5.4 billion short. The Defense Department, with a goal of 22.28 percent for small business contracting that year, missed its mark by $7.2 billion. Each agency negotiates with the Small Business Administration its own small business prime-contracting goal.

Defense contracts make up two-thirds of the entire government's contracting expenditures. DoD is best known for buying planes, tanks and ships — often products and services out of the scope of small companies. Last year, for example, DoD spent tens of billions of dollars across 11 product codes that included everything from guided space missiles to space vehicles. Of that, less than 1 percent went to small businesses.

That doesn't mean the Pentagon is abdicating its influence or responsibility. DoD is finding ways of carving out a space for small firms on large contracts and targeting businesses for certain industries, but it has been a challenging endeavor for the agency.

 

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