Congress may grant DoD contracting officers additional regulatory authorities to meet small business goaling, as evidenced by the draft NDAA for FY25, specifically, Subtitle F of the NDAA regarding Small Business Matters includes Section 861 for DoD Contracting Goals for Small Business Concerns Owned and Controlled by Veterans. The draft language reads: “a contracting officer may award a contract to a small business concern owned and controlled by veterans using procedures other than competitive procedures if (1) such concern is determined to be a responsible source with respect to performance of such contract opportunity; (2) the anticipated award price of the contract (including options) will not exceed the amounts established in section 36(c)(2) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.S. 657f(c)(2); and in the estimation of the contracting officer, the contract award can be made at a fair and reasonable price that offers best to the United States.”

Prong 2 of the draft Section 861 is the outlier, as responsibility under Part 9 and fair and reasonable pricing under applicable Parts of the FAR are required for each award.  Rather Prong 2 includes the same competitive thresholds as those for the 8(a) program, e.g. $7 million for manufacturing NAICS and $3 million for other NAICS.  In other words, Section 861 has the potential to put SDVOSBs on parity with 8(a) Program Participants for sole source award of contracts, at least for DOD.  These authorities already existed with VA, but expansion to the largest agency as a buyer of goods and services could and should lead to increased participation by veterans in the federal market place.

We note that the NDAA is still being marked up. Therefore, if you are interested in supporting this amendment, please consider contacting your congressional delegation. If you require assistance in contacting your congressional delegation, please contact Jake Neilson.