Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-1) today secured the passage of his amendment to H.R. 5743, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Intelligence Authorization Act that will help make sure small businesses receive fair opportunities to compete for intelligence community contracts. Currently, many small businesses are not made aware of existing contract opportunities within the intelligence community because they lack certain security clearances or access to the classified databases where the opportunities are presented. Thompson's amendment addresses this problem by improving access to the intelligence community's business opportunities.
"When small businesses are shut out of these business opportunities we all lose," said Thompson. "The intelligence community loses access to the best technical solutions. Small businesses lose the opportunity to create and to expand their companies. And the taxpayer loses because the government doesn't get the best price for their contract. My amendment will help small businesses create jobs, strengthen national security and make sure taxpayers get the most bang for their buck."
The reason some small businesses are not made aware of businesses opportunities is not due to a lack of technical expertise or security-cleared employees, but rather a lack of access provided by the intelligence communities.
Thompson's amendment addresses this lack of access by requiring an assessment of the intelligence community's current contracting practices, and a review to determine if these practices present unfair barriers to competition for small businesses. Specifically, the amendment requires the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to report to Congress how the Intelligence Community is currently working with subcontractors and to identify any problems that may reduce the overall effectiveness of this contracting process. In this report, the DNI will also be required to offer recommendations to improve the methods by which subcontractors are granted security clearances and notified of classified contracting opportunities.
"We thank Congressman Thompson for his leadership in introducing today's amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (H.R. 5743)," said Roy Bie, senior vice president of JDSU's Advanced Optical Technology business segment, which produces highly specialized technology for the Intelligence Community. "The security clearance and contracting opportunity process improvements resulting from this amendment will serve the federal government well by matching classified requirements with technology and innovation available from contractors of all sizes. We are pleased with the outcome of today's vote and look forward to enactment of this important legislation."
"Subcontractors that support the technical efforts of the Intelligence Community are an under-utilized asset," continued Thompson. "Many of these contractors are small businesses that our communities depend on for jobs. My amendment ensures that the intelligence community is getting access to the best available technology, while also making sure that small businesses around the country have a fair shot at expanding their companies."