On December 19,2014 President Obama signed the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. In doing so Obama and Congress renewed the 25- year-old Pentagon Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program (CSPTP) into its 28th year of testing. 

In a Dec. 31 article in the Washington Post, Pentagon spokeswoman Maureen Schumann admitted the CSPTP has actually reduced subcontracting opportunities for small businesses. She stated the program “has led to an erosion of [the agency’s] small business industrial base.” 


After 25 years, the Pentagon has finally admitted, a program they adopted under the pretense of increasing subcontracting opportunities for small businesses has actually done just the opposite.

Who would have ever guessed that a Pentagon program that completely eliminated all transparency and any penalties for non-compliance on small business subcontracting plans would actually be harmful to small businesses? 

I think the better question is did anyone in the Pentagon, Congress or the White House actually believe that eliminating transparency and non-compliance penalties for small business subcontracting programs for many of the Pentagon’s largest prime contractors would actually “increase subcontracting opportunities for small businesses?” 

I think the obvious and only answer would be certainly not. 

The CSPTP was obviously created not to help America’s 28 million small businesses to gain greater access to federal subcontracts. No, the CSPTP was created to do just the opposite. It was carefully written to create a loophole that has allowed the Pentagon’s largest prime contractors to circumvent federal law that mandates small business subcontracting goals and penalties such as “liquidated damages” for prime contractors that failed to achieve those goals. With the full cooperation of every Congress and every President for the last 25 years it has done exactly that.

So what’s the take away from the fact the Pentagon, Congress and the President have all agreed to renew a 25-year-old “Test Program” that was obviously designed to cheat American small businesses out of hundreds of billions of dollars in subcontracts into its 28th year of testing? 

First of all, it clearly proves that the United States government is much more influenced by Fortune 500 defense giants, their legions of well paid lobbyist and their generous political contributions than they are for the well-being of the nation’s 28 million small businesses. 

This would seem to be a tragic mistake in judgment considering the undeniable data from the U.S. Census Bureau that indicates small businesses are responsible for over 90 percent of the net new jobs, over 50% of the private sector workforce, over 50 percent of the GDP and over 90 percent of all U.S. exporters. 

Second, it would seem to indicate that the dozens of Washington based organization that claim to represent the best interests of America’s small businesses much like Congress, also seem to be more influenced by donations from Fortune 500 firms than they are with the true best interests of legitimate small businesses. 

I have been sounding the alarm about the blatant anti-small business CSPTP for almost a decade. I have released a barrage of blogs, press releases criticizing the CSPTP. I even launched a legal campaign to expose it for the sham it has been shown to be and block its renewal. I have already won my first legal battle against the Pentagon that will force the release of data I expect will prove that the Pentagon and many of its largest prime contractors have violated federal law and cheated small businesses out of trillions of dollars in subcontracts. 

I even retained Professor Charles Tiefer, one of America’s preeminent experts on federal contracting law to review the CSPTP and offer his expert opinion. In his legal opinion on the CSPTP he stated, “The program is a sham and its extension will be seriously harmful to vital opportunities for small business to get government contracting work... There is no doubt in my mind the CSPTP has significantly reduced subcontracting opportunities for small businesses. It should not have gotten its 25 years of extension as a never-tested ‘Test Program.’ Let it expire.” 

If you take the CSPTP as an example of who is actually trying to protect the Small Business Act and the programs it created, it would certainly appear the American Small Business League (ASBL) seems to be much more aggressive and successful at protecting federal small business contracting and subcontracting programs than any Washington based organization. 

If any member of Congress or the President of any Washington based small business advocacy organizations would like to challenge that statement show me your blogs, press releases, radio interviews or public statements of any kind objecting to the CSPTP. You have had 25 years. 

Show me your litigation that is attempting to halt the program and expose it for the obvious anti-small business sham that it truly is. 

Show me a quote from a federal Judge describing anyone but the ASBL as being involved in a “David and Goliath” battle against the federal government to expose the Pentagon’s efforts to “cover-up” damaging data from the CSPTP. 

I think the final point the renewal of the blatant anti-small business CSPTP into its 28th year of testing clearly indicates is that our government has no genuine concern for the small businesses that are the undeniable engine of economic growth and job creation in America. 

Obama and Congress need to realize the Small Business Act of 1953 was probably the most efficient and effective economic stimulus program for the middle class that has even been created. They also need to remember it’s a federal law that was passed by Congress and signed into law by the president of the United States in 1953. 

The Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program has essentially repealed the Small Business Act for the Pentagon’s largest prime contractors for over 25 years. Based on all the data that I have seen over the last twenty-five years I estimate the CSPTP has cheated American small businesses out of well over two trillion dollars. If anyone wants to challenge my estimate just tell me what data you are basing your objection on. 

If  Obama truly wants to help boost the middle class economy as he stated in his State Of The Union address, I suggest he issue an executive order to abolish the CSPTP immediately.

Chapman is president and founder of the American Small Business League.