April 29, 2003
FOR THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
of Veterans in Federal Contracting
of this memorandum is to encourage agencies to focus contracting efforts
on small businesses owned and operated by veterans, including service-disabled
veterans. This Administration is committed to ensuring that veterans are
provided every opportunity to fully integrate themselves in their communities
upon return from service. We must demonstrate to our service personnel
that we support them in all that they do, and that we fully appreciate
the sacrifices they have made on our behalf. This will be an especially
urgent tasking within the next couple of months.
502 of Public Law 106-50, the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business
Development Act of 1999, sets a 3 percent government-wide goal for participation
by small businesses owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans
in federal contracting and subcontracting. The law is implemented through
goaling letters issued to agencies by the Small Business Administration
(SBA). Individual agency goals are calculated as the result of a negotiation
between SBA and a procuring agency based on what is intended to realistically
reflect the potential of small businesses to perform contracts and subcontracts
of the agency.
A recent review of agency progress in meeting these negotiated goals reflects
that we are not doing a very good job. A summary of each agency’s
progress for fiscal year 2001 and the first three quarters of fiscal year
2002 is attached. While low numbers are not surprising for the first year
after a statutory goal is established, decreasing numbers indicate that
we have issues that must be resolved. Although these goals may not be easy
to accomplish, we must do better. To assist agencies in locating veteran-owned
small businesses, the Department of Veterans Affairs is creating the VETBIZ
Vendor Information Pages at www.vetbiz.gov.
This Administration is committed to providing small business opportunities
in our federal procurement system, particularly opportunities for the very
people that have fought and suffered for the principles behind our competitive
enterprise system. We appreciate the work of agencies that have met their
goals. We are asking each agency to take another look at ways to provide
opportunities for small businesses owned and operated by veterans who are
able and willing to supply quality goods and services at competitive prices.
We must strive to meet the needs of our veterans today and tomorrow.