Small Business League Crusades to Shut Down 25-Year-Old Government Subcontracting Test Program

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    According to a recent news release, the Pentagon is denying the request from the American Small Business League (ASBL) to release contract data that pertains to contractors that participated in the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program (CSPTP). ASBL is seeking to uncover fraud by contractors such as Lockheed Martin, British Aerospace Engineering (BAS) and Sikorsky.

    The information was requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and the ASBL eventually filed suit against the Pentagon. An opposition to ASBL’s motion was filed by the Department of Defense (DoD) on October 17, which stated that the document shouldn’t be released because it contained “trade secrets.” The ASBL, however, opposed the cross-motion and replied that it is “entitled to an order compelling DoD to provide a legally adequate response to its FOIA request.”

    Although the 25-year-old CSPTP was created in hopes of helping small businesses obtain subcontracts, it is believed to have actually opened a “loophole in federal contracting law” by which many contractors have been able to bypass federal mandates on contracting.

    The Washington Post reported about several oddities associated with the CSPTP, one of which was that the program was created in 1989 as a “test,” but has remained in “test mode” ever since and “has yet to be evaluated,” though it was initially supposed to be approved for only two years.

    The program was reported on back in 2004 by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and in the report, it was concluded that the DoD had not yet agreed upon metrics by which to evaluate the program. In 2010, lawmakers requested that the GAO follow up and investigate the program, but no further reports were produced.

    The National Small Business Association, which has fought other anti-small business policies, and House Small Business Committee both believe the program has demonstrated no value to small businesses, and it seems the DoD agrees. The Defense Department has announced plans to scrap the program.

    However, the House 2015 National Defense Authorization Bill has actually recommended renewing the CSPTP, despite language in the bill that acknowledged a lack of evidence to prove that the program meets the original goals the program was created to meet.

    Kim Mays has been editing and writing about IT since 1999. She currently tackles the topics of small to midsize business technology and introducing new tools for IT. Follow Kim on Google+ or Twitter.

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