Washington – A group representing small businesses is suing the
Pentagon and Sikorsky for information about the defense contractor’s hiring of
small and minority businesses as subcontractors.
Calif.-based American Small Business League says the information it has sought
from Sikorsky will show the Pentagon has for decades falsified the volume of
subcontracts that have been awarded to small businesses.
The league’s lawsuit
stems from it’s efforts to obtain information about Sikorsky’s participation in
a Defense Department program aimed at increasing subcontracting opportunities
for small businesses.
In April of 2014, the
American Small Business League filed a freedom of information request for the
annual report submitted by Sikorsky and about a dozen large defense contractors
that participate in the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test
Program. By law, federal agencies are obligated to award a portion – currently
23 percent – of their contracts to small businesses and those owned by women or
other disadvantaged groups.
declined to provide the information, but eventually was forced to do so by a
Despite being ordered
to release an un-redacted copy of the requested documents, Sikorsky only
supplied the court with a heavily
redacted version and appealed the judge’s order to the California-based 9th
Circuit Court of Appeals. A trial date of Dec. 11 has been set for the case.
The redacted document
blacked out all names and addresses of the helicopter makers’ subcontractors.
Sikorsky projected spending more than $913 million on large subcontractors and
$272 million on small businesses and those owned by women, veterans and
Sikorsky, purchased by
Lockheed Martin in late 2015, said it could not divulge details of its
subcontractors because that would put it at a competitive disadvantage with
other defense companies.
“At Lockheed Martin our
suppliers are integral partners in delivering our products and services to our
customers,” said Sikorsky spokesman Paul Jackson. “Sikorsky is an active
participant in the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program and has
complied with all small business requirements under the Department of Defense’s
Jackson also said
Sikorsky’s Comprehensive Small Business Plan “is competition sensitive” and was
recognized as such by the appeals court.
“We will continue to
work with the Department of Defense to ensure that our rights under FOIA are
protected,” Jackson said.
The business league
argues that Sikorsky’s contracts with the government are “sole
source” contracts and Sikorsky has no competitors for their Pentagon
Headed by small
business advocate Lloyd Chapman, the American Small Business League is
skeptical that the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program
actually helps small business.
In a recent op-ed,
Chapman said the CSPTP “was designed to eliminate all transparency for the
Pentagon’s largest prime contractors.”
Chapman said the CSPTP
also eliminated all penalties that defense contractors may face for
non-compliance with federal small business contracting goals.
Witnesses at December’s
trial include Janice Buffler, Department of Defense associate director of
subcontracting policy; Andrew Driver, Sikorsky Aircraft senior manager of
market analytics; Amy Johnson, Sikorsky director of supply chain;
and Martha Crawford, Sikorsky supplier diversity manager.
For the full article,
click here: https://ctmirror.org/2017/08/14/pentagon-sikorsky-sued-over-small-business-contracts/