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Chris Hale National Veteran-Owned Business Association 429 Mill Street Coraopolis, PA 15108 The Honorable Tom Udall

United States Senate 110 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 Dear Senator Udall,

11/17/2012

On behalf of the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA), which represents the more than 3 million small businesses owned by Americas military veterans, Im writing to register our support for the Assuring Contracting Equity Act of 2012. In 1999, the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act (Public Law 106-50), mandated 3 percent of federal contract dollars be spent with service-disabled, veteran-owned businesses. While the government has been making progress, the 3 percent benchmark has yet to be achieved federalgovernment wide as the most recent fiscal year data (FY 2011) shows a total of 2.65 percent. However, just because a government agency takes credit for awarding a contract to a veteran-owned firm does not mean that VOBs ever had a chance to even compete for a contract. Businesses that qualify for multiple federal government small business programs also skew the validity of the SDVOB spending reports. For example, if a contracting officer issues a contract to a small business that qualifies for the HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zone) program and the business also qualifies as a SDVOB or womanowned, or minority-owned firm, the government can claim credit toward spending money to achieve its goals in multiple categories. In FY 2008 for instance, the U.S. Small Business Administration reported that the federal government spent 1.48 percent, or $6.45 billion, with SDVOBs. There is no way of knowing how much of this money was awarded to SDVOBs as a result of free and open competition, but its important to note that only 56 percent of this total went to businesses that qualified exclusively as SDVOBs. Its difficult to speculate how much of this money was originally awarded in another small business category but, theoretically, as much as 43 percent could have been awarded to another category and the government just took credit for the SDVOB spend as well. As the voice for veteran-owned businesses across the nation, we applaud your leadership of this important piece of legislation that will enhance and expand opportunities for the small businesses that we represent. Respectfully submitted,

Chris Hale, NaVOBA President