(Washington, DC)—Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today issued the following statement in response to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that found that the Army Futures Command (AFC) project—a modernization initiative reportedly funded by shifting funds away from science and technology programs—harms the small businesses critical to the Department of Defense’s research, development and innovation programs:
“This report confirms that in its haste to overhaul its acquisition system, the Army neglected to study the impact Army Futures Command would have on the many small businesses that conduct vital research and develop technology for the military. Although the Army claims that Army Futures Command is engaging small businesses, this report makes it clear that small businesses have been an afterthought and worse, small businesses are being harmed by this restructuring effort. Prior to Army Futures Command, the Army was a model for how federal agencies can work with small businesses.
“The Army spent 10 years, millions of dollars, and multiple studies to develop a new physical fitness test. How can the Army overhaul its entire acquisition system with inadequate study and evaluation? Our military deserves better.
“The Army should immediately address the problems and recommendations in this report to ensure that we are providing our servicemembers with all the tools they need to keep us safe.
“I thank GAO for conducting this comprehensive review of Army Futures Command and I look forward to working with the Army to implement the recommendations.”
According to today’s report, the Army “has not fully leveraged other Army organizations that work with small businesses” and Army officers “prioritized setting up the command structure” over coordinating with those organizations. The report also found that AFC “does not track how frequently or in what ways it engages with small businesses for research and development.”
GAO made the following recommendations to improve Army Futures Command:
1. Coordinate with relevant Army organization on small business engagement efforts for research and development.
2. Systematically track small business engagement.
3. Develop command-wide performance measures and plan to use them to assess the effectiveness of its small business engagement.