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Oh NOAA! (Haven't We Heard This Song Before?)

Posted By Guy Timberlake, The American Small Business Coalition, LLC, Sunday, March 23, 2008
Updated: Sunday, June 29, 2008

In a recent announcement, NOAA announced the:

 NOAA IT Strategic Alignment and Sourcing Initiative

which is tagged as a Small Business Set-Aside. According to the annoucement, this opportunity "is the mergence of both the Mission-Oriented IT Alignment (MoITA) and Streamlined IT Performance Services (STRIPES) initiatives into one, collective information technology (IT) strategic alignment and sourcing initiative. This new initiative is a small business set-aside."

At first blush, this sounds like a decent potential opportunity for the IT small business community to be aware of, but there is something which concerns me. The fact that "NOAA along with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is sponsoring a Kickoff Conference for this new NOAA initiative." would lead one to believe that someone in the government will be watching this closely, given recent history of other initiatives/acquisitions which were also established as small business set-asides.

As it is, the assigned NAICS Code for this initiative is the infamous 517110 Wired Telecommunications Carriers which has a size standard of 1,500 employees.

Without reading the scope of work for MoITA,STRIPES, or the new merged opportunity, can someone tell me where this sounds like a job for a company with this as a primary discipline?

"This industry comprises establishments engaged in (1) operating and maintaining switching and transmission facilities to provide point-to-point communications via landlines, microwave, or a combination of landlines and satellite linkups or (2) furnishing telegraph and other non-vocal communications using their own facilities."

Hey, if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. But I don't think so.

For everyone out there that has never heard me say this, this one's for you.

Most small businesses I know are not seeking handouts. They are more than willing to work to earn their keep. Additionally, there are many small businesses with capabilities and capacity to solve lots of problems for government customers, that are not relying on socioeconomic designations to get by.

I talk to business owners and executives everyday who are also proud, loyal Americans who are routinely disappointed by actions which appear to turn a deaf ear to a major segment of this Nation, who would go out of their way to support our Government.

The fact that this NAICS Code has been selected (again!) indicates to me that someone is seeking a "not-so-small business" for this task. I'm certain there are other NAICS Codes which would more accurately define the primary disciplines needed to achieve success for this initiative, which would have drastically different NAICS Codes and associated size standards.

Instead of "calling" it a small business set-aside when it appears a small business is not really what someone has in mind, just place it out as full and open competition and move on to the next opportunity instead of having our Nation's small businesses waste their precious resources pursuing a non-opportunity.

It really ticks me off to have to write this entry.

- The Chief Visionary

Tags:  alignment  commerce  it  mission  moita  naics  noaa  performance  stripes 

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