Primes feel small business push

Large federal systems integrators are starting to see increased requirements for small-business subcontracting and agency oversight of those plans.

Northrop Grumman Information Technology is now seeing prime contracts with requirements to subcontract 35 percent to 40 percent of the work to small businesses, said Kent Schneider, president of the company's Defense Enterprise Solutions unit.

In addition, the Herndon, Va., unit of Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman Corp. is seeing contracts that require monthly reporting on subcontracting plans, he said.

Another federal prime contractor, Unisys Corp., has been audited by the government to ensure it's meeting subcontracting goals, said Rick Rosenberg, manager of defense systems for the Blue Bell, Pa., firm.

Schneider and Rosenberg, as well as Linda Gooden, president of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s information technology business in Bethesda, Md., and Michele Dyson, president of CISglobal, a small systems integrator in Silver Spring, Md., spoke at WT@FOSE April 9.

Strict requirements for small-business subcontracting can put a strain on the government customer and the prime contractor, the executives of large IT firms said.

For example, if a prime contractor tries to meet its small-business goal by purchasing IT products through a subcontractor, the corresponding price markup will be passed on to the government customer, Rosenberg said.


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