So what does Uncle Sam have in common with award winning recording artist and former Genesis front-man Phil Collins?
Both own the phrase "I Missed Again."
For Collins, it's a hit from his 1981 album Face Value, and for the federal government, well, it's about not being able to meet a goal it set for itself, again. If you haven't heard, the SBA Small Business Procurement Scorecard for FY2011 was released, and we all found out that we're going backwards. That is, agencies (overall) did worse than the previous year, with billions of dollars in fewer awards made to small business concerns.
Houston, we definitely have a problem here.
I'm not going to go into a rant about the government needs to do better, or drum up conspiracy theories about large contractors, lobbyists and politicians. While it's really, really tempting somebody else has that job. I'm also not going to harp on the SBA official who cited "headwinds" as the cause. Seriously, that's what he was quoted saying along with blaming the continuing resolutions.
Instead, I'm going to stick with my traditional "here's something that might help" approach.
So, here's something that might help!
Let's do what SBA says and set-aside all simplified acquisition purchases for small business concerns. Spending under this particular method accounted for $16 billion dollars in goods and services spending last fiscal year, with half of the awards reportedly going to small business and the other half to companies considered "other than small." The language describing why the procedures were created cites "Improve opportunities for small, small disadvantaged, women-owned,
veteran-owned, HUBZone, and service-disabled veteran-owned small
business concerns to obtain a fair proportion of Government contracts."
An extra eight billion dollars in awards to small businesses would help small businesses and government agencies. Think about it. If the other $8B in simplified acquisition awards had gone to small business we probably would not be having this conversation. Right?
OFPP Administrator Joseph Jordan and SBA Administrator Karen Mills issued a memo on June 6th in which they very specifically indicated their desire to see agencies "Maximizing Opportunities for Small Businesses Under the Simplified Acquisition Threshold." Literally days later, the folks at Department of the Air Force issued a similarly themed memo that included language related to simplified acquisitions, among others.
In this memo, it also stated in order for Air Force to achieve its goal of awarding 14.5 percent to small business in FY12, they would need to award an additional $600M-$800M above their current projections for the year.
So here's my idea for Air Force.
Based on what Air Force spent via Simplified Acquisition Procedures in FY11, and what has been spent this year, assuming they spend the same or close to the same as they did in FY11, they simply award all simplified acquisition purchases to small business for the rest of FY12 and done deal. $600M to $800M in the bag and Air Force wouldn't even have to look at GSA Schedule orders, GWACs, BPA's, etc.
Hey, it's an idea, right? Could catch on at other agencies maybe?
On second thought, I think I will harp on the SBA guy for just a bit.
To the SBA official citing "headwinds" and the CR's as the cause for agencies moving backwards in FY11 here's a question. In a year plagued with headwinds and continuing resolutions, why is it agencies were able to spend an additional $4 billion dollars via simplified acquisition procedures than they did in FY10? Sounds like there was more of a tailwind happening to me.
Anyway, it's late and I can feel it, comin' in the air tonight. Some tea and the eleven o'clock news, that is.
The Chief Visionary
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."