The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced recently that it will be increasing its goals for doing business with service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) and veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs). In a press release, the VA stated that for fiscal year 2019, its contracting participation goals would be 15 percent for SDVOSBs and 17 percent for VOSBs. This represents an increase over the prior yearly goals (established in 2010) of 10 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
The increase follows the 2016 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Kingdomware Technologies v. United States, which ruled that the VA must follow "Rule of Two" procedures in contracting, meaning that when two or more VOSBs or SDVOSBs are available to to submit bids at fair and reasonable prices for the work in question, bidding on the work must be set aside for VOSBs and SDVOSBs. The laws require the VA to consider SDVOSBs first and VOSBs second before accounting for other small business contracting considerations.
In fiscal year 2017 (the most recent year for which data is available), the VA awarded a total $26.1 billion in contracting dollars, of which 19.5 percent (or $5.1 billion) went to SDVOSBs and 20.6 percent (or $5.4 billion) went to VOSBs. Additionally, during that year, the VA's awards to SDVOSBs represented more than one-quarter of all federal contracting dollars awarded to SDVOSBs, a share of that total which was larger than that of all other civilian federal agencies combined.