By: Walter Cotton III
I’m sure that by now you have heard the ‘Good News’ about the Kingdomware decision. And, unless you’re living under a rock, you have also heard all of the hype about what this decision means for the Veteran Small Business Community (“VOSB”).
To put it in the vernacular!
Everybody and their Mamas are talking about ‘all-of-the-what(s)’ the Department of Veterans Affairs is planning to implement, in order to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision. Which, all things being equal, requires the VA to give VOSBs priority access to the Agency’s $76 Billion dollar annual spend.
But, if you are not careful, you too will find yourself caught-up in all of the hype surrounding the published reports. And you will completely miss the fact that little if anything has truly changed in the way VA is awarding its contracts…
As a matter of fact; A post mortem on many of VA’s material and more recent contract awards would reveal the fact that the VA is in open violation of its own Kingdomware Acquisition Policy Flashes (See VA’s Prime Vendor NG base contract award, Its HTME ID/IQ award, the VECTOR contract requirements, GE Sole Source, Siemens Sole Source…etc.).
Which, given my read of VA’s Policy Flashes, means that the above contract actions are being made in direct violation of PL 109-461. And in the case of VECTOR, we are talking about a requirement that resulted in standards and participation requirements that appear to have been designed to discourage real participation by the Veteran Community.
Please note that this article is not seeking to undermine the efforts of those VA resources that are diligently working to help our Community. We know who you are, and we truly appreciate you! By the same token, we both know that you have colleagues who are and have been bad actors for a very long time. And it’s just way-past time for them to be dealt with…
By now, my Veterans are surely asking themselves, where is this wealth transfer Cotton is talking about? “The likes of which I’ll Never See Again.”
Allow me to start the big-reveal by reminding you of a Universal-Gaming-Theory-Fact. ‘Whenever there is a material change in the theater, or environment of play, it produces an opportunity for the most agile Players in the game – to change the game.’
On June 16, 2016 the Supreme Court made CVE Verified SDVOSBs and VOSBs dominate within the VA’s procurement field of play. Yet a very strange thing occurred thereafter. VA’s lead procurement offices, with a few exceptions, started employing ‘procurement policies’ to circumvent the Supreme Court’s decision. And in those cases that involve their pet-programs, they seem to be willing to blindly over-reach…
And it is at this intersection where the door of opportunity gets flung wide open for the truly agile SDVOSBs and VOSB!
Said another way, if you know your rights. You can compel the Agency to comply with the plain law of the land, or block their efforts until they do. The video provides a direct example of how we employed procurement policies toward stalling a more than $25 Billion ID/IQ effort, that VA was trying to slip through the cracks (see: Veterans Pay The Price / VA Breaking Laws).
Here is the current status of the above requirement:
- The SBA’s Procurement Center Representative, assigned to VA, is watching the NAC’s behavior on the SDVOSB HTME requirement.
- The Interested Parties within the VOSB Community are watching the NAC’s behavior on the HTME ID/IQ, and will protest any additional base contract awards or attempted task order awards under this vehicle.
- Several of the OEMs that are leading stakeholders in this industry are actively working with my team to develop a Kingdomware- compliant SDVOSB and VOSB solution for the VA’s HTME needs.
Please note; this is truly not a partisan consideration I am addressing here. My focus is on mitigating, through a set of Veteran Community Driven Actions, the root-causal factors that are leading to an epidemic that we as a Nation can’t afford to allow to continue (i.e., the unacceptably high rate of Veteran Suicide…).
And to that end; our first action is to ask you to ask your Senator to vote to approve the Veterans Accountability Act of 2017 (i.e., HR 1259).
This Bill will give Secretary Shulkin the authority to terminate, Demote or suspend any VA Employee for violations of prudent operating standards. Said another way. If we want to see real change within the VA system; we must give Secretary Shulkin the tools he needs to finally drain the VA Swamp. And to get rid of the corrupt leadership that at a minimum are directly accountable for our ugly epidemic.
Yet I digress, and here is your payoff!
If we are able to empower Secretary Shulkin with the ability to rid the VA of its bad actors, while leveraging the above example for fuller SDVOSB/VOSB access to our existing rights under PL 109-461. The VA’s $76 Billion Dollar annual spend will be the Veteran Community’s spring-board to a wealth transfer that is more than $350 Billion Dollars in size.
Okay. Now you know the ‘What’ is available for you… In the next installment I will start laying out the ‘How’ you secure your fair share. And I am going to start naming the people that should be at the top of Secretary Shulkin’s hit list!