Report: Service-disabled contracting on the rise

Contracts set aside for businesses owned by service-disabled veterans will pull in nearly $2.8 billion in spending by fiscal 2009, according to a report issued this month by market research firm Input Inc.

The set-asides accounted for $103.7 million in government IT opportunities in 2003, and will comprise $2.1 billion in IT awards in 2005, according to the Reston, Va., company's 10-page report.

Legislation is pushing the increase by creating contracting mechanisms for the government to meet a goal of spending 3 percent of contracting dollars with service-disabled veterans by fiscal 2009. One law lets procurement offices restrict certain awards to businesses owned by service-disabled veterans or to issue sole-source contracts to them.

To qualify, a business must have at least 51 percent ownership by one or more veterans who were disabled while serving on active duty. The service-disabled veteran, or a spouse or caregiver in cases of permanent or severe disability, must manage and direct the company's day-to-day business.

Many federal agencies have tried to improve prime and subcontracting opportunities for service-disabled veteran-owned business, but the government has fallen short of the 3 percent goal. Input said it expects the government to meet the goal within the next few fiscal years.

Finding businesses owned by service-disabled veterans is one of the biggest challenges for the government. More than 4.2 million veteran-owned businesses and 320,000 service-disabled veteran-owned businesses are operating in the United States, according to the Census Bureau. Only a fraction of the businesses, however, is registered as federal government contractors on the Web site and in the Central Contractor Registry, according to Input.

The full report is at

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