Participating as a witness in a Congressional hearing is among the highlights of my career. It was an honor to be selected to provide insight on the Defense Production Act and its utilization of America’s small business base.
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by the Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure to participate in a virtual hearing addressing the utilization of small businesses in Defense Production Act procurements. I was asked to provide testimony about the Defense Production Act’s small business provisions, as well as how the act has been utilized to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Preparing for these topics proved to be somewhat challenging. Defense Production Act data is hard to come by. The Congressional Research Service noted earlier this year that “[p]ublic reporting and congressional oversight of [Defense Production Act] activities is fragmented and irregular.” Statistics that are specific to small business participation are even scarcer.
In light of the information gaps, I recommended that the Subcommittee increase data collection activities under the Defense Production Act for both small business prime contracting awards as well as small business subcontracting awards. With this data, Congress would be better able to evaluate the extent to which small businesses are participating in Defense Production Act procurements at various levels, and make changes to ensure that small businesses are being effectively mobilized to address COVID-19.
I want to thank the Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure for the opportunity to participate in the hearing. I also would like to thank Committee staffers Irene Rivera Goyco and Lauren Finks for their efforts in coordinating the hearing.