Pentagon 25-Year-Old "Sham" Test Program Facing Mounting Opposition


Oct 08, 2014, 07:00 ET from American Small Business League

PETALUMA, Calif., Oct. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Recent media attention on the Pentagon's 25-year-old Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program (CSPTP) and the significant negative impact it has had on small businesses has caused the Pentagon and Congress to reconsider the future of the program.

The CSPTP was adopted in 1990 under the guise of increasing subcontracting opportunities for small businesses. In reality, the CSPTP created a colossal loophole in federal law that has allowed the Pentagon's largest prime contractors to completely ignore federal law establishing small business subcontracting goals. Once the CSPTP eliminated all transparency and penalties for non-compliance with small business goals, subcontracting opportunities for small businesses evaporated.

The Pentagon has never released any documentation that the CSPTP ever helped small businesses. Even the language in the 2015 National Defense Authorization bill renewing the CSPTP into its 28th year of testing was critical of the program. It stated, "However, after nearly 24 years since the original authorization of the program, the test program has yet to provide evidence that it meets the original stated goal of the program."

A 2004 Government Accountability Office investigation also found no evidence the CSPTP had ever increased subcontracting opportunities for small businesses.   

The media attention on the CSPTP prompted a hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee. Long time small business advocate and former head of the SBA Office Of Advocacy, Jere Glover testified at the hearing and submitted a letter to the committee opposing the renewal of the CSPTP. Before the media buzz on the program, both houses of Congress voted to renew the CSPTP into its 28th year of testing.

Professor Charles Tiefer, one of the nation's leading experts on federal contracting law, issued a legal opinion opposing the renewal of the CSPTP. Professor Tiefer's legal opinion referred to the CSPTP as a "sham" and stated, "There is no doubt in my mind the CSPTP has significantly reduced subcontracting opportunities for small businesses. It should not have gotten its 25 years of extension as a never-tested 'Test Program.' Let it Expire."

Professor Tiefer discussed his legal opinion opposing the renewal of the CSPTP in an appearance on Federal News Radio on September 22, 2014.

The American Small Business League launched a national campaign to expose the fact that the CSPTP has cheated small businesses out of over a trillion dollars in subcontracts since its inception in 1990, and halt the renewal of the test program.

The Hill ran a blog critical of the test program titled, "Pull The Plug On Pentagon's 25-Year-Old Test Program." Another article by The Blaze White House correspondent, Fred Lucas, focused even more attention on the CSPTP.

Gov Exec journalist Charles Clark released an article critical of the CSPTP. In his article Pentagon spokeswoman Maureen Schumann acknowledged, "The Department of Defense position is to not have Congress extend the CSP."

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SOURCE American Small Business League