Navy Claims New Records for Small Business Participation, Improved Overall Acquisition Efficiency

2020 was a record-breaking fiscal year by the U.S. Department of the Navy for the goods and services invested into small businesses despite the onset of COVID-19. To augment efficiency of the Navy acquisition corps, James F. Geurts, the assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, plans to promote a narrative of investing more money into contracts with less contracting action.

Geurts stated, “Over $17 billion directly to small businesses as a prime. We not only met our kind of demanding goals but exceeded them, not only at the overall level but in sub-categories,” on a recent phone call to reporters in October.

In exactitude, $17.33 billion was invested into small businesses by the Navy this year and all percentage goals for prime contract awards were exceeded. A goal of 15.61% was outlined for allocation for small business prime contracts awards, but 16.46% was obtained.

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) have been actively trying to make it easier for small businesses to participate in contracts, especially since the beginning of the pandemic.

“We used to kind of say, here’s what we need, and we’d then see what they would come up with. We kind of flipped that around and we’ve now started asking small businesses, hey, what do you got, to try to actually see what they’re thinking,” said Lorin Selby, head of the ONR.

As a result of this new methodology, the ONR now obtains around 115 proposals for programs, a significant increase from the 12 proposals they would typically obtain. Also, the ONR now requires about 10 pages of information within proposals, a significant decrease from the 10 pages they would typically ask for. There has also been a decrease in the number of days spent evaluating contracts by the ONR, from 45 to 9 days.

A concept called “Fed Mall” has been set up by the Defense Logistics Agency in which small businesses with federal contracts can sell goods and services in a virtual marketplace as well as purchase goods and services at discounted prices.

The Department of the Navy has been acting with the underlying goal of improving acquisition efficiency and small business participation.

Author: Donna Sunny


Consolidation of Mentor- Protégé Programs and other Government Contracting Amendments

The U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) initiated a review of their regulations in order to determine which might be revised or eliminated because of government wide regulatory reform initiative. As a result, 8(a) Business Development (BD) Mentor-Protégé Program and the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program merges in order to eliminate unnecessary duplication of functions within SBA. This eliminates the requirement that 8(a) Participants seeking to be awarded an 8(a) contract as a joint venture submit the joint venture agreement to SBA for review and approval prior to contract award, revises several 8(a) BD program regulations to reduce unnecessary or excessive burdens on 8(a) Participants, and clarifies other related regulatory provisions to eliminate confusion among small businesses and procuring activities. This rule became effective on November 16, 2020, except for § 127.504 which went into effect October 16, 2020.

The proposed rule initially called for a 70-day comment period, with comments required to be made to SBA by January 17, 2020. SBA published a notice in the Federal Register on January 10, 2020, extending the comment period an additional 21 days to February 7, 2020. SBA considers tribal consultation meetings a valuable component of its deliberations and believes that these tribal consultation meetings allowed for constructive dialogue with the Tribal community, Tribal Leaders, Tribal Elders, elected members of Alaska Native Villages or their appointed representatives, and principals of tribally-owned and Alaska Native Corporation (ANC) owned firms participating in the 8(a) BD Program.

SBA held a Listening Session in Honolulu, HI to obtain comments and input from key 8(a) BD program stakeholders in the Hawaiian small business community, including 8(a) applicants and Participants owned by Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs). SBA received 189 timely comments, with a high percentage of commenters favouring the proposed changes during the proposed rule’s 91-day comment period. A substantial number of commenters applauded SBA’s effort to clarify and address misinterpretations of the rules. For the most part, the comments supported the substantive changes proposed by SBA. The Jobs Act was designed to protect the interests of small businesses and increase opportunities in the Federal marketplace. The Jobs Act was drafted by Congress in recognition of the fact that mentor-protégé programs serve an important business development function for small businesses and therefore included language authorizing SBA to establish separate mentor-protégé programs for the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern (SDVO SBC) Program, the HUBZone Program, and the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Start Printed Page 66147Program, each of which was modelled on SBA’s existing mentor-protégé program available to 8(a) Participants. Thereafter, on January 2, 2013, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA 2013), Public Law 112-239 was enacted. Section 1641 of the NDAA 2013 authorized SBA to establish a mentor-protégé program for all small business concerns. This section further provided that a small business mentor-protégé program must be identical to the 8(a) BD Mentor-Protégé Program, except that SBA could modify each program to the extent necessary, given the types of small business concerns to be included as protégés.

The explicit purpose of the 8(a) BD Mentor-Protégé relationship has been to enhance the capabilities of protégés and to improve their ability to successfully compete for both government and commercial contracts. All Small Mentor-Protégé Program is designed to require approved mentors to aid protégé firms so that they may enhance their capabilities, meet their business goals, and improve their ability to compete for contracts. If a protégé firm is an 8(a) Program Participant, a joint venture between the protégé and its mentor could seek any 8(a) contracts, regardless of whether the mentor-protégé agreement was approved through the 8(a) BD Mentor-Protégé Program or the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program. Moreover, a firm could be certified as an 8(a) Participant after its mentor-protégé relationship has been approved by SBA through the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program and be eligible for 8(a) contracts as a joint venture with its mentor once certified.

A mentor-protégé relationship approved by SBA through the 8(a) BD Mentor-Protégé Program will continue to operate as an SBA-approved mentor-protégé relationship under the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program. It will continue to have the same remaining time in the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program as it would have had under the 8(a) BD Mentor-Protégé Program if that Program continued. Any mentor-protégé relationship approved under the 8(a) BD Mentor-Protégé Program will count as one of the two lifetime mentor-protégé relationships that a small business may have under the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program. This rule also revises regulations pertaining to the 8(a) BD and size programs in order to further reduce unnecessary or excessive burdens on small businesses and to eliminate confusion or more clearly delineate SBA’s intent in certain regulations. Specifically, this rule makes additional changes to the size and socioeconomic status recertification requirements for orders issued against Multiple Award Contracts (MACs).

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Sabre88 – Celebrating Our Veterans

Veteran’s day is more than a federal holiday. The date in which we celebrate our veterans, November 11th annually, is set aside in remembrance of the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” which marked the end of World War I. Our great republic and all its citizens are forever indebted to those who bravely fought to protect our borders and our revolutionary freedoms. Our country’s veterans deserve to be honored for their service and their sacrifices, as we would live in a vastly different world without them.

On this day, let us remember those who fought for our freedom and put themselves in harms way to protect our great nation. Let us honor and recognize our veterans for their contribution to our ability to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Let us humbly give thanks to our heroes and reflect upon their steadfast sense of duty.

At this time, we are proud to honor our very own Sabre88 Veterans:

Charlie Cernat

James Hansel

Taylor Bradley

Howard Johnson

Robert Lightfoot

Ron Oliver

Brian J. Schweikert

On behalf of all of us here at Sabre88, Thank You for Your Service.