The Veterans Entrepreneurship Task Force (VET-Force), organized in 1998, to advocate for the development and passage of Public Law 106-50, the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999, wherein Congress realized that the United States must provide additional assistance to veterans, particularly service disabled veterans, with forming and expanding their own small businesses, and thereby enabling them to “realize the American dream that they fought so hard to protect.”
The VET-Force, which is composed of over 200 organizations and affiliates representing thousands of veterans throughout the United States; a high percentage of which, are small businesses; has made it their mission to monitor the implementation of the programs, agencies, and organizations referenced under the law and to present a strong unified veterans’ voice for virtually all of the major veterans groups, as well as, veteran entrepreneurs; and to advocate for opportunities for veterans, particularly disabled veterans, seeking assistance to succeed in small business and self-employment.
Though PL 106-50 did much to establish the infrastructure and goals for federal and prime contracting for veterans and service disabled veterans, evidence shows that the agencies did little to get contracts to veterans; and with no accountability required, government agencies, and especially their prime contractors, failed to ever meet the minimum 3% goals for service disabled veteran business owners.
Thus the VET-Force continues to advocate for additional legislation, as in October 2003, when Congress and members of the administration passed legislation that was signed into law by the President. Under that Public Law, 108-183, a Veterans Procurement Program for Service Disabled Veteran Business Owners was created. Contracting officers were authorized more “tools to work with” to achieve the mandatory minimum 3% requirements of the law. Now procurement officials can restrict or sole source contracts exclusively for Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOBs). Though the veterans’ community has had a great deal of optimism surrounding this piece of legislation, there is still a lack of urgency within many of the agencies to implement the program.
Therefore, the VET-Force will continue its vigilant oversight of legislation and continue its advocacy of ideas in the areas of acquisition, planning, marketing, and outreach to ensure that veterans and service disabled veterans receive the full benefits of this program as promised to them by Congress, and that the language of the law is implemented “expeditiously and transparently,” now as opposed to later!
Note: VET-Force meets monthly in the Nations Capitol to discuss the issues pertinent to the success of Veteran Business Owners. For more information, contact us.