Effective March 17, DOD contracting officers won’t have to issue a justification or obtain approval for award of a sole-source contract under the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program for awards up to $100 million, up from the prior $22 million limit. This Department of Defense class deviation implements the higher dollar amount that Congress set in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.
This change will likely matter most for 8(a) concerns owned by an Indian Tribe, Alaska Native Corporation (ANC) or Native Hawaiian Organization (NHO), as other 8(a) firms are limited to a smaller dollar amount for sole source awards unless only one 8(a) firm can perform the work.
In its report published last week, GAO both commends and criticizes SBA for its handling of tribally affiliated 8(a) business development firms—particularly Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) and ANC-owned businesses participating in the 8(a) program.
When an incumbent contractor’s general manager got sick and had to quit, the contractor promptly found a replacement, which the agency approved. But there was still one problem: the incumbent had already proposed to use the same general manager for the next contract.
According to GAO, the agency was right to eliminate the contractor from the competition, even though the agency knew that the contractor had a new general manager and had, in fact, approved the replacement.