What's New with GSA Schedules?
Q&A with Robb Wong, SBA's Associate Administrator
Set-Aside Alert exclusive
It’s been a busy nine months for Robb Wong since he was appointed by President Trump as the top person in charge of the small business federal contracting portfolio at the Small Business Administration last year.
As SBA’s Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development, Wong oversees the flagship 8(a) Business Development, HUBZone and Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) programs, among others. The government offers set-asides to small firms participating in these programs.
Wong, who is an attorney, previously worked at SBA headquarters as an advisor and in SBA district offices in Texas in the late 1980s and mid-1990s. He ran a consulting business in Rockville, MD for 19 years.
He spoke with Set-Aside Alert Editor Alice Lipowicz about what he has been doing and his plans for the year ahead.
Set-Aside Alert: Hello, and thank you for the interview. Can you give us some idea what you have been working on since your appointment, and your accomplishments and frustrations to date?
Robb Wong: At this intersection of my life, there is a Japanese phrase that applies: “iki gai.” My wife is Japanese and she taught me the phrase. It means doing what you love, what the world needs, and what you do well and have a passion for.
I feel that I am blessed to have both a great opportunity and responsibility to help people in a meaningful way and in an industry that I know well – not just as a former SBA employee and manager but also as a small business contractor. I am also incredibly fortunate to be in an agency with Mrs. (Linda) McMahon as our leader, who supports our office, and most importantly, I have a tremendous team of SBA professionals to advise and help me.
My greatest frustration is the sense of urgency. I feel like a kid in Disney World with only three hours left before closing time. I feel an incredible sense of responsibility and a sense of excitement trying to put into effect things that really help people.
Set-Aside Alert: Would you please talk about your agenda at the SBA Office of Government Contracting and Business Development for 2018 to 2020?
Robb Wong: In general, I’m looking at it sort of like a business. Our job is to work in concert with government and companies to make sure that 23% is spent on small businesses. The certifications for our programs (8(a), HUBZone, WOSB, SDVOSB) are like products to us.
We hope we can make changes so that businesses find the certifications easier to get and easier to use, and we want to make sure that the government continues to supply contracts to small businesses. I have to meet both of those expectations.
Set-Aside Alert: What are your plans for improving the programs?
Robb Wong: I have some specific ideas that are in the process of being reviewed and are not fully approved yet.
In general, for 8(a), HUBZone and WOSB, I want to update and modernize the programs in 2018.
I’ve spoken to about 10,000 people in the last nine months, inside and outside government, small and big company professionals. I have gone to a lot of business conferences and I’ve heard a lot of ideas for administrative and congressional changes. I have some specific proposals that I’m reviewing that I am not ready to discuss yet. I am working on improving process, policy, laws and regulations, and advocacy.
I believe 8(a) is a cornerstone of the SBA’s reputation and identity. But there has not been a significant change for 30 years. Except for your spouse, what works as well today as it did 30 years ago? 8(a) needs to be modernized to be more useful and to meet increased demand.
One recent example is the 8(a) certification application system on Certify.gov that began in mid-November. We have gotten several hundred applications through Certify.gov. The system is still a work in progress. We continue to make improvements. What will happen is that Certify.gov should shorten the processing time for 8(a) applications. We are still in the process of verifying the efficiencies
Set-Aside Alert: I believe Certify.gov was in the works before you came on board. What was your contribution?
Robb Wong: I pushed up the timetable to November. A previous timetable would have taken longer, and I redirected efforts so that we went live earlier.
The goal is to return efficiencies to the public—a shorter turnaround for processing applications, and a shorter turnaround for annual reviews. And if we digitize and computerize, we can give the Business Opportunities Specialists in our offices more time to deal with customers—the small businesses.
Set-Aside Alert: What changes in policy are you working on?
Robb Wong: I have the intent to deal with policy for each program: (8(a), HUBZone and WOSB). I have some ideas on how to improve them.
The main thing I’m concerned about is that in general, I want everyone who gets our certifications to get contracts and make money.
All Small Mentor Protege
Set-Aside Alert: Any plans for the All Small Mentor Protégé program?
Robb Wong: The mentor-protégé program is the program that allows Mighty Mouse to team up with Superman. It’s one of the best-kept secrets in our office.
Set-Aside Alert: Is it really a secret? I believe it has more than 370 teams at this point, about 15 months after it launched.
Robb Wong: Well, 370 is better than 270.
Set-Aside Alert: What do you mean by that?
Robb Wong: What I meant to imply by “370 is better than 270” was only that I am glad we seem to be moving in the right direction and I am glad for progress. It is my goal to make sure that those who applied for the ASMPP were able to do it efficiently, but more importantly, I hope that they find the program effective. Growth for growth’s own sake is only one thing I focus on. If the increase in number also comes with an increased satisfaction and effectiveness – then yes – more is better.
SBA Policy and Programs
Set-Aside Alert: What other policy changes are you considering regarding category management, etc.?
Robb Wong: As for category management, strategic sourcing, consolidation, the reality is that we are going to hit the 23% goal with no problems, but the problem is that the number of small businesses winning those contracts is shrinking.
We are trying to address this problem like a business. If the industry has shifted, the SBA needs a business response. We need to change our products. We are looking at things and trying to work with all sectors of government—DOD, Navy, Army, GSA, etc.
We need to focus more on subcontracting as that will be a growth area. If you cannot get a prime contract, maybe you can get a subcontract.
We want to empower our small businesses to get ahead of the game as fast as possible with access to pre-decisional information—before the contracts are announced. Who buys what you sell? Where are you located?
There are some small businesses that want to be government contractors that don’t put a lot of effort into sales. They also feel they need to hit a home run the first time.
Set-Aside Alert: How are you going to give small businesses pre-decisional access?
Robb Wong: We’re going to try to provide tools, training and counseling in a “one to many” format. It could be webinars, maps or other materials.
8(a) Business Development Program
Set-Aside Alert: You mentioned that you want to improve 8(a). Can you give us any specifics on your plans for 8(a)? Also, has anyone been named to replace (SBA’s former deputy associate administrator) Jackie Robinson-Burnette?
Robb Wong: There is no replacement yet for Jackie Robinson-Burnette. We are still defining the requirements.
Jackie did a great job of streamlining the 8(a) program and reducing waiting times. We are trying to put some refinements on what she did, with quality assurance and better quality companies.
There was a decrease in the number of 8(a) companies over the years because it was taking too long to process applications, and some people didn’t find the program useful.
Very frankly, I’ve been involved with 8(a) since the 1980s. Back in those days, if you got into 8(a), the government just awarded you contracts.
Now getting an 8(a) certification is like getting a hunting license to the federal contract hunting grounds.
Remember when Gerald Ford used to go to Vail and it was pristine? And then all the tourists came to Vail? That’s what happened to 8(a). It hasn’t been that useful recently. The field is crowded and it’s hard to find contracts. I have some ideas to address some of the challenges to make it more useful.
Set-Aside Alert: What are your ideas for the HUBZone program?
Robb Wong: The HUBZone program is very well intentioned, but it has the effect of penalizing a business for being successful. It is so restrictive that it reduces the willingness of companies to invest in the business. It’s challenging, but I believe it could be equally effective as the 8(a) program.
Set-Aside Alert: Did the NDAA go far enough in addressing the problems in the HUBZone program?
Robb Wong: It didn’t go far enough. In general, I’ve been talking to business owners and government, and listening to them, and I’ve identified four things we could try, but at this moment we’re not ready to announce anything.
Set-Aside Alert: What about the Senate provision (not included in the final NDAA) to reduce the HUBZone employee residency requirement to 33%? Do you support that?
Robb Wong: I’d like to try to remove some of those restrictions in order to attract better small businesses to make the investment into HUBZone areas and employees, while also addressing the concerns of government agencies who hire those companies.
Recent proposed changes in employee residency, from 35% to 33%, ostensibly would reduce some of those restrictions, so in theory that is a good thing and I would support that.
Proposed Rules and Regulations for WOSBs and others
Set-Aside Alert: People are eagerly awaiting the Women-Owned Small Business certification program. Do you have any comments on when the SBA might issue the proposed rule on that?
Robb Wong: We hope to publish a proposed rule this fiscal year.
Set-Aside Alert: What about the proposed rule on certification of veteran-owned small businesses?
Robb Wong: We hope to issue that in the next few weeks (Editor's note: It was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 29, 2018).
Set-Aside Alert: President Trump has promoted the idea that government regulations need to be cut. What regulations do you think should be cut at the SBA?
Robb Wong: The agency is reviewing all of our regulations.
Set-Aside Alert: At this juncture, with the Trump administration in its second year and plans of increasing defense spending and reducing civilian spending, what is your advice to small business federal contractors in the market and to small business owners considering getting into the federal market?
Robb Wong: My advice would be it is not enough for a small business to say to a contracting officer: I have a certification, you are missing your goals, so give me a contract. You would be surprised how many small business owners don’t get that. The small business owners need to know, in what world does someone want to buy their product?
Set-Aside Alert: Is it a good time to get into the federal market, especially for minority owners, given that the President Trump so far has had a controversial record on civil rights.
Robb Wong: The answer is yes. My last name is Wong. I am a minority owner. I support the administration and I am a minority. If anything, they (minority small business owners) will feel better. I am here as an advocate. I am not interested in the status quo. I love the agency. I love the constituency. I am energized every day.
My job is putting people to work. It is a non-partisan issue. We have people of all different ethnicities and persuasions in this institution and we work together as a team.
Wong's First Small Business
Set-Aside Alert: You mentioned in your speech last April that you started your first business at age 11. What was that business?
Robb Wong: Stringing tennis rackets. My Mom would drive me around. We had 9 pro shops. We would pick up armfuls of rackets and restring them for $2.50 each. I liked it. Work made me feel useful and part of the world. My father used to say to me: When you go outside into the world, be happy and be helpful.
Set-Aside Alert: Is there anything you would like to add?
Robb Wong: I feel extraordinarily blessed to be in this position. ..There is a lot to do, and I feel that I might not have time to do all that I want to do.
The SBA’s Government Contracting and Business Development office is probably one of most important offices. The things we do have a direct effect on government and on small businesses. We want to make sure the people getting certifications are quality corporations with quality solutions.
Everywhere I go, I’m asking people to tell me: What are the three things SBA does well? What are the three things SBA does that I don’t like?
I hope to get some legislative and regulatory changes to improve usefulness.
(Editor's note: This Q&A originally was published in the Jan. 19, 2018 and Feb. 2, 2018 editions of Set-Aside Alert)
The Top 17 Small Business
Federal Contracting Stories of 2017
Set-Aside Alert news analysis
by Alice Lipowicz, editor
Now that 2017 is over, we can all take a deep breath and acknowledge that it was a very disruptive year in Washington. Priorities shifted, tempers rose and fell, the air was filled with tweets, and previous rules and practices were erased or redrawn at record speeds.
With so many big stories, the little stories got short shrift. Small business federal contracting made but a few headlines in the major news outlets.
The Small Business Administration got a feisty new director who received little attention other than for her colorful former career as a wrestling entertainment producer.
The New Year has begun, and the news never ends. But before we look ahead, here is a look back at Set-Aside Alert’s picks as the Top 17 Small Business Federal Contracting Stories of 2017.
#1 Ethics and Civil Rights
One of the greatest adjustments for small business federal contractors, starting in 2017 and ongoing, has been to adapt to an environment of sharply different ethics and attitudes emanating from the White House. The hottest controversies involving President Donald Trump in his first year in office have been about his ethics and his attitudes about civil rights, women’s rights, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, truth and justice. His supporters say those controversies are overblown and politically-motivated. That may be true in some cases, but overall it is fair to say that Trump has displayed very different perspectives than his recent predecessors in these areas.
To name one example, Trump has refused to release his tax returns showing what businesses he owns, whether he owes money and to whom, and so on. The public needs such information to monitor whether an elected official is using his or her office for personal gain. Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, along with nearly all presidential candidates from the last several decades, have released their tax returns.
The president also has proposed deep cuts to programs potentially affecting fairness in small business federal contracting, including the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, federal civil rights enforcement offices, the Minority Business Development Corp. and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which polices discrimination in federal contracting.
Many small business federal contractors are black, Hispanic, Muslim, Native American, foreign-born or women. Are small business owners, especially minorities, encouraged or discouraged about the federal market? Is small business federal contracting still generally viewed as fair and nondiscriminatory?Set-Aside Alert will continue to explore these important questions in 2018.
#2 Federal Budget Shifts
The dramatic shifts in presidential and legislative priorities that occurred in 2017 are likely to have big effects on small business federal contractors in the next several years.
In 2017, the GOP majority in Congress, which previously had been highly critical of increasing the U.S. deficit, reversed itself and authorized up to a $1.5 trillion increase in the deficit to pay for tax reductions. With the deficit on the rise, there will be political pressure to reduce federal spending, including contract spending.
But GOP lawmakers also want to expand defense spending. Congress authorized a fiscal 2018 defense budget of $700 billion, which far exceeds the $549 billion caps mandated by the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011. Lawmakers would need to legislate separately to overrule the caps in order to carry out the defense spending hike. If they succeed, there potentially would be more opportunities for small businesses in defense contracting.
The fiscal 2018 spending bills are not yet completed, and House GOP Majority Leader Paul Ryan has said the Republicans intend to pay for the additional military costs by cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. That would hit small business contractors in those programs.
Spending in other programs viewed as low priorities by the Trump Administration--including environmental, scientific and medical research, and international trade and diplomacy programs--also are likely to see reductions, which would negatively impact small business vendors in those areas.
#3 The NDAA
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2018 had a large number of provisions affecting small business federal contractors. Here is a quick rundown of the major changes:
• HUBZone maps will remain the same until 2020, and then change every five years. There are new rules allowing governors to nominate zones, and a new requirement that decisions on HUBZone applications be made within 60 days.
• Under Section 805, the Simplified Acquisition Procedures threshold would be raised to $250,000, from $100,000. In Section 806, the micro-purchase threshold would be increased to $10,000, from $3,000.
Both the simplified acquisitions and the micro-purchases tend to favor small businesses.
• Section 1703 states that agencies would no longer receive credit for small business set-aside contracts in cases in which the small business was acquired--and would no longer be deemed small--after the contract was awarded;
• Section 1704 sets out certification requirements for the SBA’s Business Opportunity Specialists.
• Section 1705 outlines certification requirements for the SBA’s Commercial Market Representatives.
• Section 846 authorizes the development and implementation of one or more e-commerce platforms for commercial items that could be purchased by the Defense Dept. - the so-called “Amazon” provision.
• The DOD would set up a pilot program that would require contractors that protest DOD procurements to the Government Accountability Office to reimburse DOD’s costs if the contractors lose the protest.
The program begins in 2020 and applies to contractors with revenues of $250 million or more.
• The SCORE program for advising small businesses did not get reauthorized,
• and a Senate provision to lower the employees-living-in-HUBZone requirement to 33% was dropped.
#4 Personnel Changes
New presidential administrations bring in a new group of appointees aligned with the president, and 2017 followed that pattern, up to a point.
The difference is that President Trump and several of his Cabinet members have been criticized for not filling vacant senior positions quickly enough, or not filling them at all.
By year’s end, appointees have filled many positions that are key for small business federal contracting, including Emily Murphy as administrator of the General Services Administration; Linda McMahon as administrator of the SBA; Althea Coetzee Leslie as deputy administrator of the SBA; and Robb Wong as SBA’s associate administrator for government contracting and business development.
Jackie Robinson-Burnette, a longtime career executive at the SBA who managed the 8(a) portfolio, among other duties, recently left the SBA for a job at a Maryland bank.
#5 Disasters hit hard
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Marie blasted through Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, and wildfires have ravaged California, causing tens of billions of dollars in destruction. Federal relief and recovery efforts have totaled more than $50 billion to date in 2017, with a number of contracts awarded to small business contractors. It is not clear whether a full tally of the small business share will be available. Another relief package is in the works.
#6 2016 Small Business Goal Met
In mid-2017 it was announced by the SBA that former President Obama’s administration exceeded the 23% statutory goal for small business procurement for the fourth year in a row, for fiscal 2016. The total value of small business federal contracts rose to $100 billion, up from $91 billion. Small vendors won 24.34% of eligible contracts, down from a high of 25.75% the year before. The SBA for the first time included overseas contracts in the pool of eligible contracts, increasing the pool to $411 billion, from $352 billion the year before. As the pool expanded, the percentage going to small businesses was expected to shrink.
In addition, it was the fifth year in a row that federal agencies reached the 3% goal for contracting with small firms owned by service-disabled veterans. The 5% goal for small and disadvantaged businesses also was met. Goals for HUBZone and women-owned small firms were not met.
#7 All Small Mentor-Protege
The SBA’s new All Small Mentor-Protege Program got off to a fast start when it launched in October 2016, and it never slowed down. The program allows small businesses to partner with larger mentor companies to win small business set-asides.
The program is open to all small businesses. As of Dec. 1, 2017 the SBA had approved 362 agreements between mentors and proteges under the program.
#8 Big set-aside contracts awarded
The most talked-about federal small business contract of 2017 was the $300 million awarded by a Puerto Rican power authority to tiny Whitefish Holdings in Montana. It was canceled after an uproar.
Other large contracts awarded to small firms included:
• GSA named the 80 small businesses that have won spots on the $15 billion Alliant 2 Small Business contract for IT and professional services;
• GSA awarded positions on the Veterans Technology Services 2 (VETS 2) governmentwide acquisition vehicle to 70 firms. The contract was set aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs).
• GSA added 502 new 8(a) companies to the STARS II governmentwide acquisition contract for computer-related services. The contract is set aside for 8(a) Business Development Program participants.
#9 VA wins court case
The U.S. Court of Federal Claims in May decided that veterans have top priority in Veterans Affairs Dept. contracting, overriding the priority given to companies employing people with disabilities.
The court ruled that Congress, in the 2006 “Veterans First” law, intended that veterans should get first preference in VA contracts, overruling the preferences awarded to AbilityOne companies in a 1971 law.
However, the court on Sept. 15 suspended its own decision until the matter can be judged by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
The intervenor in the case, Industries for the Blind Inc., a maker of eyeglasses and an AbilityOne contractor employing blind and disabled people, appealed the federal claims court’s decision.
#10 Fewer small federal primes
The number of small businesses winning prime federal contracts fell by 25% from 2010 to 2016, according to a study by Deltek research firm.
The total number of small business prime government contractors decreased from 140,000 in 2010 to 105,000 in 2016.
The study attributed the drop primarily to contract consolidation.
#11 Major fraud case
Defense contractor ADS Inc. of Virginia Beach, VA agreed to pay $16 million to the government as a result of a False Claims Act case investigated by the Small Business Administration’s OIG and negotiated by the Justice Dept.
The scheme involved setting up purported small disadvantaged business entities to obtain set-aside contracts. The OIG said it was the second-largest recovery ever under the False Claims Act in a case involving small business contracting fraud.
#12 GAO hits OSDBUs
The Government Accountability Office found a variety of issues with the government’s Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBUs) at 24 agencies.
Only five OSDBUs demonstrated compliance with all requirements, while four agencies missed only one requirement. Fifteen agencies missed the boat on two or more requirements.
The OSDBUs fell short by not having their directors report to the head of the agencies; by requiring collateral duties of the directors; and by not recognizing required compensation and seniority of the directors. Read more at https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-675.
#13 Changes in veteran certification
The Veterans Affairs Dept. and SBA are working together to loosen restrictions on veterans’ ownership and control of small business contractors, Thomas J. Leney, executive director of VA’s Small and Veteran Business Program office, said in a webinar.
He said the joint rule would align with “normal business practices” and would give minority investors more authority than before in the ownership and operation of service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs).
The changes are in response to Congress’ order to the SBA, contained in the NDAA of fiscal 2017, to consolidate authority to verify veteran business owners within the SBA. Currently, the VA verifies veteran owners for its VETS First set-asides program, and the rest are self-certified under an SBa program.
(UPDATE: The VA has issued a proposed rule giving up authority in verification of veteran ownership. See story on Page 1.)
#14 8(a) adds 7% more firms
The Obama Administration implemented “an aggressive growth plan” in its final months to increase the number of small businesses certified in the SBA’s flagship 8(a) Business Development program, according to a report from the agency’s Office of Inspector General.
That effort paid off with an estimated 7% increase in the number of 8(a) participants between August 2016 and March 2017. The number of 8(a) companies rose to about 5,300, from 4,900, during the period, according to OIG’s Report on the Most Serious Management and Performances Challenges Facing the SBA in Fiscal 2018.
#15 SBA OIG faults 8(a) program
The SBA’s OIG followed up on its review that found that 30 out of 48 applicants for 8(a) were approved by the SBA without fully addressing eligibility concerns raised about their applications. In the followup, the OIG said the concerns were resolved for 20 of the firms. For the 10 remaining firms, the OIG made recommendations.
#16 FBI’s headquarters canceled
The Trump Administration canceled the search for a new FBI headquarters, citing a lack of funding. Plans for moving the agency out of its deteriorated building in downtown Washington, DC had been in the works for more than a decade, and three potential sites had been identified in the MD and VA suburbs.
#17 Veteran owners group concerns
In the 16 months since the Supreme Court confirmed that veterans must get the first shot at all VA contracts, the VA has fallen short in complying, according to a national veterans group.
The National Veteran Small Business Coalition shared concerns that the VA is not fully complying with, or sometimes actively “working against,” Congress’ intent in the Veterans First law of 2006. The law ordered that veterans get top priority in VA contracting.
The group noted in a white paper that the percentage of VA prime contract spending going to SDVOSBs has declined in recent years,
from 20% in 2010 to 18% in 2016. Currently there are about 8,300 such firms verified with the VA.
The group also said only 4% of VA contracts below the simplified acquisition threshold in fiscal 2016 were set aside for SDVOSBs or VOSBs.
The VA has not responded to a request for comment on the group’s concerns.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This story originally was published in the Jan. 4, 2018 and Jan. 19, 2018 editions of Set-Aside Alert.
VA, SBA joint rule anticipated
By Alice Lipowicz, editor, Set-Aside Alert
There are new rules to expand HUBZones and to increase micro-purchase and simplified acquisition limits.
There also are new rules restricting agencies from getting credit for small business contracts in some situations. The SCORE program for advising small businesses did not get reauthorized, and a Senate provision to lower the employees-living-in-HUBZone requirement to 33% was dropped.
Those are just a few of the latest developments in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2018 (NDAA).
A conference of House and Senate members has negotiated a joint and presumably final version of the NDAA. Their Conference Report version of the bill, H Rept. 115-404, has been published online at http://goo.gl/RxeFxA.
The bill now goes to the House and Senate for passage, where it possibly could be amended. The final approved bill must be signed by the president to become law.
The legislation authorizes $626.4 billion for the Defense Department’s base budget, which exceeds the $549 billion caps mandated by the Budget Control Act. The bill also has $65.7 billion in emergency war funds not subject to the caps.
There are several provisions affecting small business federal contractors.
SAP and micro-purchases
Under Section 805, the Simplified Acquisition Procedures threshold would be raised to $250,000, from $100,000;
In Section 806, the micro-purchase threshold would be increased to $10,000, from $3,000.
Both the simplified acquisitions and the micro-purchases tend to favor small businesses.
Section 1701 of the bill says that for a firm to be certified as eligible for HUBZone set-asides, 35% of its employees must live in a HUBZone. A Senate provision reducing that percentage to 33% was rejected.
The section also amends several HUBZone provisions in the Small Business Act.
• Amends the law so that HUBZone census tracts will be based on a five-year average of available data, rather than the latest available data;
• Amends the definitions of HUBZones for base closure areas and disaster zones;
• Allows governors to nominate new HUBZones in areas that are outside of urbanized areas, have fewer than 50,000 people and have an average unemployment rate that is at least 120% of the national average.
The House NADA would have reauthorized the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) program providing advice to small businesses until 2019. It also ordered SCORE to develop webinars and other online communications.
However, in the most recent version of the NDAA, there is no reauthorization for SCORE. It was not immediately clear what would happen to the program.
Small business contracts
Additional provisions affecting small business federal contractors include:
• Section 1703 states that agencies would no longer receive credit for small business set-aside contracts in cases in which the small business was acquired--and would no longer be deemed small--after the contract was awarded;
• Section 1704 sets out certification requirements for the Small Business Administration’s Business Opportunity Specialists;
• Section 1705 outlines certification requirements for the SBA’s Commercial Market Representatives;
• Section 1711 creates a pilot program to strengthen manufacturing for the Defense Dept. by small- and medium-sized companies;
• Section 1714 orders that in light of the recent increase in multiple-award contracts, the government must conduct a comprehensive study to determine whether small businesses are being utilized sufficiently in those contracts.
Other contracting provisions
• Debriefings: Section 818 provides for enhanced rights in debriefings. It says that for contract awards over $10 million and under $100 million, small businesses have the option to request the agency's written source selection award determination (with confidential and proprietary information redacted). In addition, it requires a written or oral debriefing for all contract awards of $10 million or more.
• LPTA: Section 822 makes it more complicated for agencies to use Low Price Technically Acceptable criteria in procurements.
(This story originally appeared in the Nov. 17, 2017 edition of Set-Aside Alert)
Will the NDAA's "Amazon marketplaces hurt small business?
NDAA freezes HUBZone Map until 2020
SBA says Obama Admin. achieved 24.34% in small business procurements
Regulations of 2016: