Blackwater Worldwide: Small Business?
Blackwater Worldwide is the subject of yet another report, this time regarding the security company's claims of small business status.
Like companies across the land, Blackwater sought to be designated as a small business to win contracts more easily from the State Department or other agencies. But is it also possible that government procurement officials wanted to apply the designation to Blackwater to make it easier to award the contracts?
Don't laugh. It happens all the time.
You contracting folks -- in and out of the government -- know well that the designation of a company can change everything when it comes to awards. Apply the correct code from the North American Industry Classification System, and a drawn out procurement can suddenly become a snap. (Note to NAICS gurus: feel free to send cards and letters; I want to know more.)
Anyway, the report by the Small Business Administration's Office of Inspector General raises some intriguing questions about how the State Department awarded small business contracts to Blackwater and affiliated companies.
The IG report stops shy of accusing Blackwater of wrongdoing, in part because auditors did not have enough information. But it concludes that the SBA did not do near enough to try to find answers to a variety of questions.
In Government Inc.'s experience, these kinds of unanswered questions appear to hover over many "small business" contracts that are routinely awarded to companies that, to the rest of us, look pretty big indeed.
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