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Senate Uses Ambiguous Language to Renew Controversial Pentagon Test Program

PETALUMA, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 06/26/14 -- According to the American Small Business League, the Senate has voted to renew the 25 year old controversial Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program into its 28th year of testing with language that appears to have been specifically written to be ambiguous.

The Senate version of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Bill (S.2410) states the Test Program:

"shall terminate on September 30, 2015, if the Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics certifies to the congressional defense committees not later than December 31, 2014, that --

1) the Department of Defense will not be able to transition all participants in the test program to individual small business subcontracting plans that meet all relevant requirements contained in the Federal Acquisition Regulation before December 31, 2014; or

2) participants transitioned to individual small business subcontracting plans do not enhance subcontracting opportunities for small business concerns."

The Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program was adopted back in 1990 under the guise of changing federal contracting law to increase subcontracting opportunities for small businesses. In reality, small businesses have lost out on hundreds of billions of dollars in subcontracts as a result of the changes.

The first change was the elimination of publicly available small business subcontracting plans and publicly available quarterly and annual subcontracting reports. This change essentially removed all transparency from Pentagon subcontracting programs.

The second change was the elimination of "liquidated damages" for Pentagon prime contractors that failed to comply with federal law establishing small business subcontracting goals. Prior to the implementation of the Test Program, prime contractors that failed to achieve their small business subcontracting goals were subject to paying liquidated damages in the amount of the deficiency.

Research by the American Small Business League (ASBL) indicates the Test Program was obviously not designed to help small businesses but to create a significant loophole in federal contracting law that has allowed the Pentagon's largest prime contractors to circumvent federal law establishing small business subcontracting goals.

The ASBL estimates small businesses have been defrauded out of over one trillion dollars in subcontracts since the Test Program began in 1990.

ASBL President Lloyd Chapman stated, "What would you think if your local school district came up with a test program to determine if eliminating tests, report cards and any penalties for students that did not attend classes actually increased scholastic scores? Now imagine testing that insane program for 25 years. This is exactly what Congress has done with the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program."

The Pentagon has refused to release any data on the Test Program. The ASBL has filed suit against the Pentagon in Federal District Court in San Francisco for refusing to respond to Freedom of Information Act Requests for specific subcontracting data submitted under the Test Program.

During the last 25 years, no journalist has ever interviewed anyone from the Pentagon or Congress on why no results have ever been released or why the Test Program is still in effect after 25 years.

Please take a moment of your time to view this helpful video in describing why this Test Program was designed specifically to help prime contractors and not small businesses.

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