Disabled Veterans National Foundation Calls for Immediate Action to Correct Mismanagement of Program that Awards Contracts to Disabled Veteran-Owned Companies
The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF) is calling on the Department of Defense to take immediate action to correct mismanagement of a nine-year-old program that is supposed to set aside government contracts for companies owned by disabled veterans.
Congress created the Veteran Owned Small Business program in 2003 to provide opportunities throughout the federal government to companies at least 51 percent-controlled by veterans who were disabled while serving the country. The veteran must have responsibility for long-term decision-making and day-to-day management.
However, a report published March 6th by the DOD Inspector General revealed that a sample of contracts from 2010 showed that $340.3 million in work was awarded to contractors who “potentially mis-stated” their company's eligibility.
In a statement issued by the DVNF, the Pentagon's Office of Small business “must immediately address this gross oversight.”
“The Office absolutely must have adequate procedures in place to ensure that the goal of the program is met – that of assisting disabled veterans who own businesses and are vying for and being awarded government contracts,” said Raegan Rivers, CAO of DVNF. “The integrity of the program is at stake, and the oversight signifies a lack of commitment to the disabled veteran business owners the program was created to help.”
Federal agencies must meet an annual goal of awarding at least 3 percent of contract amounts to veteran-owned businesses under a 2004 executive order by President George W. Bush. The Pentagon hasn't hit the goal, awarding only 1.8 percent of its contracting dollars in fiscal 2010.
The inspector general's report followed congressional testimony by the Government Accountability Office in February that weaknesses throughout government left the program for service-disabled veterans vulnerable to fraud and abuse.
The Pentagon's Small Business Program responded to the report by stating it will issue guidance reminding contracting officers of their duty to verify contractor claims that they are certified to participate.
About Disabled Veterans National Foundation: DVNF exists to change the lives of men and women who came home wounded or sick after defending our safety and freedom. A non-profit 501(c)(3), DVNF was founded in the fall of 2007 by six women veterans to expand their scope of work within the veteran's community. For more information, visit www.dvnf.org.
Raegan Rivers, CAO, 202-737-0522