Agencies can help VETS GWAC succeed

Paul Denett, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said driving government contracts to veteran-owned small businesses is one of his priorities and should be a priority of agencies as well.

Denett urged agencies in a July 10 memo to review their information technology requirements and check the General Services Administration's Veterans Technology Services Governmentwide Acquisition Contract for available services.

"The success of the VETS GWAC depends on strong agency participation," he wrote in the memo to chief acquisition officers and senior procurement executives. "Increasing opportunities for our service-disabled veterans is a top priority, and I ask you to seriously consider using the VETS GWAC to support this effort."

Some firms on other small-business GWACs, particularly the Streamlined Technology Acquisition Resources for Services contract, are struggling to stay in the government market. Of the 416 firms on the GWAC, 197 did not have their option years renewed because they failed to reach a $100,000 sales threshold during the contract's three-year base period, GSA officials have said.

Contractors and GSA officials said lack of agency participation contributed to the loss of small businesses from the contract.

"The federal government awarded a record $79 billion to small businesses, with $1.9 billion awarded to small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans," Denett said in testimony before Congress today. "While this is a significant increase, we know that more needs to be done."

Denett testified before a House Veterans' Affairs Committee subcommittee about federal contracts for veteran-owned small businesses and the goal of sending 3 percent of government contracting dollars to those businesses.

Matthew Weigelt writes for Federal Computer Week, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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