Congress Moves to Make Sham Pentagon Test Program Permanent: ASBL Reports

PETALUMA, Calif., July 26, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Congress has included language in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would make the embattled 26-Year-old Pentagon Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program (CSPTP) permanent.

The CSPTP was adopted by the Pentagon in 1989 under the guise of "Increasing subcontracting opportunities for small business." In reality small businesses across the nation have been defrauded out of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal subcontracts as a result of the program.

The CSPTP has just two provisions, the complete elimination of all transparency and the elimination of all previously existing penalties for prime contractors that failed to comply with their small business subcontracting goals.

In 2014, Pentagon spokeswoman, Maureen Schumann acknowledged that due to its lack of transparency and accountability, the CSPTP "has led to an erosion of [the agencies] small business industrial base." Before voting to extend the CSPTP into it's 27th year of testing, Congress acknowledged there had never been any evidence the program had ever achieved its goal of increasing subcontracting opportunities for small businesses.

In 2015, the Pentagon released a graph that indicated since the test program began, subcontracts to small businesses had actually dropped by 50 percent.

Professor Charles Tiefer, one of the nation's leading experts on federal contracting law, released a legal opinion describing the CSPTP as a "sham." In his legal opinion Professor Tiefer stated, "The program is a sham and its extension will be seriously harmful to vital opportunities for small business to get government contracting work [...] Let it expire."

The Pentagon has refused to release any information on the CSPTP for over 26 years. The American Small Business League (ASBLfiled suit against the Pentagon in Federal District Court in San Francisco after the Pentagon refused to release subcontracting reports that had been submitted by Sikorsky Aircraft to the test program.

Federal Judge William Alsup ruled in favor of the ASBL and ordered the Pentagon to release the Sikorsky data to them. In his ruling Judge Alsup stated, "The purpose of the Freedom of Information Act is so the public can see how our government works. Congress passed this law to make the small businesses have access to some of these projects, and here is the United States covering it up."

The Pentagon has appealed the case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

ASBL President Lloyd Chapman stated, "The Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program has cheated American small businesses out of hundreds of billions of dollars in subcontracts for over 25 years. The Pentagon knows we will prevail in this case and they are hoping to sneak it into the 2017 NDAA and make it permanent before we win the case and obtain the information that will prove it's a sham."


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