Tribally Owned 8(a) Partnering is Worth a Hard Look

8aTribally Owned 8(a) Small Businesses offer savvy companies unique advantages in the Federal Defense Market Space

We live in an era of Federal procurement paralysis, with Procurement Action Lead Times (PALT) routinely extending from months to years on competitive procurements, while many Federal Contracts Shops contend with a continuing “brain drain” of expertise and increasing workload.  At the same time, Industry continues to file award-delaying protests ad nauseum on most all major competitive procurements, whether Small Business set-aside or Full and Open competition.

The result of this procurement paralysis is a tendency by the Government to solicit Firm Fixed Price (FFP) bids, whether they can precisely define their requirements or not (rarely can they).  Also, in a further effort to avoid Industry protests and save time, they over-employ a mindless source selection process called Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA).  LPTA may be appropriate for buying pencils and toilet paper, but is grossly inappropriate for most technical services bids.

None of the above is “new” news to those working in today’s Federal Defense space.  I use it to set the stage for the introduction to what I believe is a more attractive option:  The SBA’s Tribally Owned 8(a) Business Development Program.  This program offers the following attractive features:

  • The ability to sole source contracts without dollar value caps or thresholds
  • The ability to put high dollar contracts in place in a matter of weeks; not months or years
  • The ability to bid reasonable prices (without the “biggest liar takes all” competitive LPTA model)
  • The fact that Tribally Owned 8(a) sole source procurements are not protestable by small or large businesses.  That’s right; non-protestable.

Now, that is the “Cliffs Notes” version of the good news about Tribally Owned 8(a) contracting.  Having teased you with a little of the “What and Why”, I have not addressed any of the “Who, Where, When, and How” parts of puzzle, or the few downsides… like you can only get up to half of the work.  All of that would fill a good sized book.  I offer this post solely in an effort to motivate you to take a hard look at Tribally Owned 8(a) contracting.


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