Defense Dept. Poised to Dump Program One Expert Calls a 'Sham' and 'Seriously Hurtful' to Small Business


Defense Dept. Poised to Dump Program One Expert Calls a 'Sham' and 'Seriously Hurtful' to Small Business

By Fred Lucas

The Blaze

September 27, 8800

The Pentagon is prepared to ditch a program that's been called a "sham" and

"seriously harmful" to small businesses in a legal opinion under review by the

Senate Armed Services Committee.

Committee staff will meet with Defense Department officials Thursday to

discuss whether to renew the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program,

which has been around since 1990 but has yet to show that it meets its stated

goal of improving access to federal subcontracting for small American firms.

Operating with almost no oversight, the program creates a loophole that

allows big companies doing work for the Defense Department to skip out on

obligations to provide subcontracts to small firms, while making

taxpayer-funded contracts less transparent, said University of Baltimore law

professor Charles Tiefer, who specializes in federal contract law and was a

member of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan from

2008 through 2011.

"Calling a 25-year-old program a 'test program' is like a test program of a

two-year temporary amnesty program for tax evaders, or a two-year temporary

program for illegal aliens, still being called a temporary 'test program' after

25 years," Tiefer wrote. "If this initially 2-year-old 'test program' were a

baby when it started then referring to it as just temporary is like still

calling it a toddler when it reached its commencement ceremony for college

graduation – except that it had never had to take a test to continue its


Nevertheless, the Defense Department acquisition site states: "The purpose of the test is to determine

whether comprehensive subcontracting plans will result in increased

subcontracting opportunities for small business while reducing the

administrative burden on contractors."

While the test program operates under the Defense Department's Office of the

Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, the department says

it is not a Pentagon program and wants it scrapped.

"This was a congressional program enacted in law in 1990 with the intention

of saving large prime contractors money by allowing them to negotiate corporate

wide goals, increase small business participation, strengthen the industrial

base, and apply those saving into small business programs," Pentagon spokeswoman

Maureen Schumann told TheBlaze in a statement. "Although well-intended, the

program has not produced quantifiable results. The Department of Defense

position is to not have congress extend the CSP."

Congress will be voting on the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense

Authorization Act in October.

The Democratic-controlled Senate Armed Services Committee has leaned toward

following the Pentagon's suggestion, while the Republican-controlled House

Armed Services Committee wants to reform the program to make it more

transparent, but not end it altogether.

Tiefer's opinion states that the test program "frees the big defense

contractors from doing individual small business subcontracting plans."

"The program is a sham and its extension will be seriously harmful to vital

opportunities for small business to get government contracting work," Tiefer


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