Small businesses will have greater access to defense contracts thanks to provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 authored by Reps. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., and Bill Shuster, R-Penn. Larsen and Shuster co-chaired the Panel on Business Challenges Within the Defense Industry from September 2011 to March 2012 which looked at the challenges businesses face in working with the Department of Defense.
"A strong defense industrial base is critical to both our national security and economy," Larsen said. "As the Defense Department resets after a decade of war, we need to make sure our defense dollars are used in the most efficient way and go to the most innovative technologies that support our troops. These provisions are designed to help small businesses compete for Defense Department dollars. Small businesses are true innovators and important job-creators. It is critical they are given every opportunity to compete for defense contracts. This panel was a model of bipartisan cooperation, and I appreciate the leadership of Rep. Shuster and other members of the panel."
"I want to thank my colleague Mr. Larsen for co-chairing the successful Panel on Small Business Challenges in the Defense Industry," said Shuster. "For six months our panel traveled across the country holding briefings, roundtables, and hearings on challenges that small and medium sized businesses face within the defense industry. The panel identified barriers to entry for small businesses, and the NDAA will implement these changes that cut through red tape and bureaucracy that stifle innovation and job creation, and will allow small businesses better access for conducting business with DoD. Encouraging businesses of all sizes to compete in the defense industry allows for the best and most competitive final products for our warfighters."
Title 16 of the National Defense Authorization Act includes several provisions derived from the Panel's March 2012 report. The provisions would:
* Strengthen Department of Defense incentives to work with small businesses;
* Remove unnecessary barriers to entry into the defense market;
* Empower small business advocates in the Department of Defense;
* Improve transparency and enforcement mechanisms between the Department of Defense and industry;
* Increase the maximum size of surety bonds the Small Business Administration can guarantee at no cost to the taxpayer; and
* Require one percent of funding for the Small Business Innovation Research program to be reserved for the Commercialization Readiness Program which pairs together developmental technologies from small- and medium-sized businesses with Department of Defense research centers and weapons development offices.