SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Nikita Ivanov, Sean Houghton

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Pentagon Failed Test Program Dodged Media Coverage for 25 Years

PETALUMA, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 06/02/14 -- According to the American Small Business League, the failed Pentagon Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program has been in place for 25 years and yet not one journalist from the mainstream media has ever reported on the controversial and secretive program.

The Pentagon quietly adopted the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program in 1989 after journalists and Congress uncovered the fact that the Pentagon had falsified data on the actual percentage of federal subcontracts that had been awarded to small businesses, including minority-owned firms. Congress also found the Pentagon was not complying with federal law, the Small Business Act of 1953 that requires a minimum of 23% of all federal contracts and subcontracts be awarded to small businesses and 5% to small, minority-owned firms.

In one example, the House Armed Services Committee investigated the Air Force F-22 Stealth Fighter contract. The Committee found that as opposed to the minimum 23% small business goal required by law, the Air Force had given Lockheed Martin a small business subcontracting goal of just .016%. A story in the Washington Post by Steven Pearlstein began, "The Pentagon's biggest new weapons program -- the F-22 stealth fighter -- is proving to be as invisible to small and minority-owned defense firms as it is to enemy radar." The Air Force was forced to allocate an additional $501 million to small businesses.

To avoid another embarrassing Congressional investigation the Pentagon enacted the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program. The program was disguised as a plan to increase subcontracting opportunities for small businesses. In reality it was carefully written to do just the opposite. Under the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program the public, Congress and the media would no longer have access to individual subcontracting plans and the quarterly reports that could be used to track a prime contractor's compliance with their subcontracting goals.

In addition to the elimination of reports, all firms participating in the program were also exempt from federal law that required prime contractors to pay "liquidated damages" for failing to achieve their small business subcontracting goals.

In 2004 a Government Accountability Office investigation, Report GAO-04-381, found no evidence that the Test Program had achieved any of its goals. That fact went unreported in the mainstream media.

Even the language in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Bill that proposes to extend the Test Program into its 28th year acknowledges there is no evidence the Test Program has ever worked. This fact has also gone unreported in the mainstream media.

During the last 25 years the Pentagon has refused to release any data that showed the Test Program achieved any of its goals. The Pentagon is currently refusing to release any data on the Test Program under the Freedom of Information Act. This is yet another fact that has gone unreported in the mainstream media.

The American Small Business League estimates that over the last 25 years American small businesses have been cheated out of over one trillion dollars in subcontracts as a result of the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program.

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