The Small Business Administration announced Aug. 1 that the federal government reached its small business contracting goal for the first time in eight years, and the U.S. Army was a critical force behind that success.
The federal government tapped small businesses for 23 percent of contracts last year totaling $83.1 billion, according to SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, who made the announcement at a press conference held at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center with the space agency’s Administrator Charles Bolden and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.
While contract dollars have gone down in all categories as a result of overall reduced federal spending, small businesses still secured a greater percentage of the contracting dollars, SBA said in a statement. And according to the Army, the service played a leading role in making that happen by spending more money on small business contracts than any other federal agency.
“The $17.47 billion the Army spent with small businesses in fiscal year 2013, accounts for more than a fifth of all federal small business spending that year,” the Army said in a statement on its website. “This was also more than 27 percent of total Army contract spending, significantly higher than the Army’s Department of Defense-assigned goal of 26.5 percent, and the highest Army small business spending percentage on record.”
The Army also awarded 5.12 percent of its contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses, marking the first time that the Army has exceeded the 5 percent goal for that program, according to the statement.
“The Army consistently leads the federal government in total contract dollars awarded to small businesses, because we consistently engage and build relationships with small firms,” Jackie Robinson-Burnette, deputy director of the Army’s Office of Small Business Programs, said in a statement. “We award contracts to the nation’s small firms, not only because it’s the law, but more importantly, because capable small businesses increase the competitive nature of our contract solicitations, resulting in better value, cost, and contract performance.”
To date this fiscal year, the Army has awarded $10.60 billion in contracts to small businesses compared to $10.50 billion at the same point in fiscal year 2013.