During its approval of the defense budget back in 1989, Congress added a new test program intended to simplify the subcontracting process for large defense contractors. In theory, proponents said, the tweak would lead large prime contractors to pass more work along to small businesses.
A quarter century later, some of the world’s largest defense contractors are still taking advantage of the program — which, oddly enough, remains in “test” mode. Odder still, the test has yet to be evaluated.
Called the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program, the initiative allows large defense contractors to establish company-wide or division-wide subcontracting plans that outline how the company or each of its units generally intends to partner on any work awarded by the federal government. Any time one of the participating companies competes for work, it can present the general subcontracting strategy.
Normally, prime contractors are required as part of the bidding process to submit a specific subcontracting plan for each individual project, which details how much of the work they plan to outsource and to what type of companies.
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