PETALUMA, CA--(Marketwired - May 12, 2014) - The Pentagon is refusing to
comply with Freedom of Information Act requests for specific data on the volume
of subcontracts awarded by any of the nation's twelve largest defense contractors
participating in the 25-year-old Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test
The American Small Business League has
been attempting to obtain specific data on contractors participating in the
Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program under the Freedom of Information
Act since 2010. They plan to file suite against the Pentagon this week in
Federal District Court in San Francisco.
The Pentagon website for the
Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program states, "The purpose of the
test is to determine whether comprehensive subcontracting plans will result in
increased subcontracting opportunities for small businesses while reducing the
administrative burden on contractors." (Link)
No results on the effectiveness of the
25-year-old test program have ever been produced or released to the public.
The program was enacted 25 years ago and
yet it is virtually unknown across government. No journalist has ever written
about the program.
The program had two provisions. The first
was prime contractors participating in the test program no longer had to
release quarterly (SF 294) and annual (SF 295) subcontracting reports that had
been previously available to the general public. The second provision of the
test program was that prime contractors participating in the test program were
exempt from any and all penalties under the law for non-compliance with their
federally mandated small and small disadvantaged business subcontracting goals.
The Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan
Test Program was enacted in 1989, shortly before the 9th Circuit
Court of Appeals in San Francisco issued a ruling against the Defense Logistics
Agency that found subcontracting reports submitted to the Pentagon from prime
contractors were public information.
Prior to the implementation of the
Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program in 1989, all Pentagon prime
contractors were required to submit quarterly (SF 294) and annual (SF 295)
small business subcontracting reports. Federal law mandated that any prime
contractor that failed to make a "good faith effort" to comply with
their small and small disadvantaged business subcontracting goals could be
required to pay liquidated damages in the amount of the deficiency.
The American Small Business League
believes the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program is a significant
loophole created by the Pentagon to allow prime contracts to ignore federal law
that requires a minimum of 23% of all federal contracts and subcontracts be
awarded to small businesses and avoid any penalties for noncompliance with
The ASBL believes the data they obtain
through their litigation will prove legitimate small businesses have been
defrauded out of trillions in federal small business contracts since the test
program began 25 years ago.