Defense will consult Alaska Native Corp’s on 8(a) contract rules

Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) will be consulted during the development and implementation of new rules affecting Alaska Native 8(a) and Native American defense contracting, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich announced after receiving assurance from Department of Defense (DOD) officials in Washington today.

The commitment came in a meeting between Begich and DOD's Director of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy, Shay Assad.

"Any changes to the 8(a) contracting must occur with the consultation of our Alaska Native Corporations who know this program so well," Begich said. "I appreciate the commitment by the administration to having tribal consultation with Alaska Natives and American Indians, and I know many agencies across government are working to fulfill this obligation. I am encouraged by Mr. Assad's commitment to meet with all tribal participants in the Small Business Administration's Native American 8(a) program."

Mr. Assad will oversee the implementation of Section 811 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. Section 811 requires justification and approval by a head of an agency for sole source contracts exceeding $20 million. The effect the additional requirement will have on the contracting process and competitiveness of Native American and Alaska Native contracting cannot be gauged without tribal consultation.

Before today's meeting, DOD's willingness to engage in tribal consultation to ensure the implementation of Section 811 does not adversely impact Alaska Native and Native American contracting was unclear. Begich had previously written the Office of Management and Budget regarding this issue, requesting a process of tribal consultation. Additionally, Begich secured a provision in the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations Act requiring DOD to report to Congress on the impact of Section 811 on the Small Business Administration's Native American 8(a) program.

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