Small Business Contracting Goals for “Manageable Spend”
On May 25, 2017, with only 128 days remaining in Fiscal Year 2017, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs issued VA’s Fiscal Year 2017 small business goals. This is actually an improvement over when the Fiscal Year 2014 goals were issued with only 38 days remaining in the fiscal year. Fiscal Year 2014 was the last time the Secretary of Veterans Affairs issued a Small Business Goaling Memorandum.
In response to a May 24, 2017, Freedom of Information Act request for VA’s Fiscal Year 2015, 2016, and 2017 Secretary of Veterans Affairs Goaling Memorandums, VA provided a copy of the Fiscal Year 2017 Secretary’s Goaling Memorandum, along with a no responsive records response for copies of the Fiscal Year 2015 and Fiscal Year 2016 Secretary’s Small Business Goaling Memorandums. A no responsive records response can only mean the VA Secretary did not issue the annual goaling memorandum for those years.
VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, an organizational element of the Office of the Secretary, is responsible for preparing and coordinating the Secretary’s annual small business goaling memorandum. It appears this was not done for Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016.
The VA Secretary’s Fiscal Year 2017 Small Business Goaling Memorandum makes it official: VA’s department-wide goals for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) remain at 10% and 12%, respectively. These goals have been flatlined since Fiscal Year 2010, despite VA substantially exceeding the goals each year.
Interestingly, the VA Secretary’s Fiscal Year 2017 Small Business Goaling discusses a Fiscal Year 2016 piloted effort to concentrate on spend areas where active goals management is most likely to produce results. VA identified “manageable spend” areas based on VA-funded contract actions, but excluded major health care contracts, large-dollar major construction actions, and mandatory domestic delivery service contracts under the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative. Since no goaling memorandum was issued by the Secretary in Fiscal Year 2016, it is unlikely many people outside VA would have known of this change.
VA’s Fiscal Year 2017 Small Business Goals are established at the statutory level for Women-Owned Small Business (5%), Small Disadvantaged Business (5%), and HUBZone Small Business (3%). VA’s Small Business goal was reduced from 32% last fiscal year, to 28.5% for Fiscal Year 2017. The Secretary’s memorandum also establishes VA’s Fiscal 2017 subcontracting goals.
VA decreased its small business subcontracting goal from 17.5% to 17.0%, while increasing the goals for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business and Veteran-Owned Small Business by 2%, from 5% and 3%, respectively, to 7% and 5% respectively.
About the Author:
Wayne Simpson is a seasoned former Federal executive and acquisition professional who is also a highly-motivated and demonstrative small business advocate, with nearly 38 years of Federal Civilian Service with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and its predecessor organization, the Veterans Administration.