Military not giving small business subcontractors a fair shake, DoD IG says

The military services are not giving small businesses a fair shake when it comes to awarding contracts.

The Defense Department Inspector General Office unearthed some disturbing trends over the past few years for small business owners trying to do business with the military.

“We’ve done five different audits,” said Michael J. Roark, assistant inspector general for readiness and global operations at DoD IG, while testifying before the House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce on May 17. “The consistent challenges contracting officials face is monitoring prime contractors’ compliance with individual subcontracting plans and determining why individual contractors with subcontracting plans did not meet their small business subcontracting goals.”

Two of the DoD IG audits were performed on the Marine Corps, two others were on the Air Force and the final on the Army.

From the Executive Director

May 11 2018

I had the pleasure of being at the Society of American Military Engineers briefing yesterday by Frank Grimaldi, Assistant Commissioner at City of Chicago, Department of Aviation.  The City of Chicago and its airline partners have agreed to a $8.5 billion capital improvement plan that will transform O’Hare with the largest terminal expansion ever, adding 25% more gate capacity, modernizing existing terminals and improving passengers’ experience. This investment is central to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s O’Hare 21 vision to improve the airport’s connectivity, efficiency and capacity, and ensure the future success of Chicago’s most important economic engine. This is the first major capital improvement to O’Hare’s terminals in more than 25 years.  Even though we are across the border to the north, some of you that do airport work may find this to be a good opportunity.  Visit for details.

NIST Revises Intellectual Property Rights Offered to Federally Funded Inventions and Licensing of Government Owned Inventions

Patent Intellectual Property (collectively, “IP”) rights represent a significant element of many government contracts, including those for research and development, whether by commercial, non-profit or educational institutions. But did you know that if you develop a subject invention through the use of federal monies (whether in whole or part), the Government gains certain IP rights? As discussed in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (“FAR”) Part 27 (48 C.F.R. Part 27), at the very least the Government may (with certain exceptions) gain a fully-paid up license in the IP. This is if the proper and timely reporting of the creation of an invention is made to the relevant agency by the inventor. Failure to timely provide that reporting may result in the inventor losing its patent rights and the IP rights transferring to the Government.

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From the Executive Director

I had the pleasure of attending the MIDWEST AEROSPACE SMALL BUSINESS INDUSTRY DAY hosted by NASA, the Federal Reserve and our IL PTAC counterparts yesterday in Chicago.  All 10 NASA centers were represented as were 6 of NASAs large prime contractors including Boeing, Jacobs, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, SAIC and Sierra Nevada.  Also joining the program was NASA’s SBIR-STTR Deputy Program Executive.  Quite a lineup.  So, what was the message?

Here is what they said:

  • If you want to do work with NASA, you must register in their NASA VENDOR DATABASE This will connect you to their procurement opportunities and requirements.
  • Respond to SOURCES SOUGHT and RFIs – and when you do – respond specifically to the requirement. This is important in the consideration to set aside requirements and consider suppliers.
  • Do your homework – a repeated comment. You are not making a good impression if you do not know who you are meeting with and what you can bring to their table
  • Glenn Delgado is the Associate Administrator of the NASA OSBP. He writes a blog from their website – good reading
  • Each NASA Center has a specialized mission – do your homework before meeting with NASA representatives
  • The NAICS codes that they use may seem “wrong”. They recommended digging deeper on their requirements to determine if the opportunities actually are a fit.  Only one NAICS code can be used on a requirement – the decision factors may not be obvious.
  • Make sure that you have an “elevator pitch” that includes your NAICS and differentiators and a good capabilities statement
  • Understand the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and the NASA Supplement
  • Attend the Center events – develop relationships at each Center Select OUTREACH at
  • VERY IMPORTANT to the prime contractors attending – a robust accounting system.
  • VERY IMPORTANT – AS9100 quality system
  • Remember that NASA for the most part buys in low quantity – high specialization
  • SBIR STTR programs are both available through NASA
  • NASA has their own Mentor Protégé program – outside of the US SBA program

Wisconsin has a number of NASA contractors including Orbital Technologies, UW System, Medical College of Wisconsin, Plymouth Tube Company, College of Menominee Nations, Madison Cryogroup, Marquette, Industries for the Blind and others.

If you are interested in exploring potential opportunities for your business with NASA, contact me at

New OFPP strategy targets 13 percent reduction of duplicative contracts by 2020

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy has been trying to solve contract duplication for almost a decade.

OFPP required agencies to justify new multiple award contracts by submitting business cases. That had limited success.

OFPP tried to create catalogs of existing contracts so agencies could see what was out there first before going down the path of a new contract. That had even less success.

Now OFPP is trying to use category management and its subcategory best-in-class contracts to shrink the number of technology, professional services, transportation and logistics and seven other categories where the number of MACs has grown and grown for decades.

Learn more at

Federal Acquisition Regulation: Duties of Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization


Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).


Final rule.


DoD, GSA, and NASA are issuing a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to reflect sections of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which amend section 15(k) of the Small Business Act to provide additional duties for agencies’ Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), and for DoD’s Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP).

Learn more: