The FY 2020 NDAA includes Section 823 (see below for details), which promotes the abilities of ANCs to continue to meet their Congressional mandate: operate as for-profit corporations that return monetary and non-monetary benefits to their Alaska Native shareholders. This provision would mitigate the damaging effects that Section 811 has had on the ability of Native contractors to compete with larger contractors on sole-source contracts with values in excess of $22 million (inflation adjusted from $20 million).
“We’re grateful to Senator Sullivan for his unwavering support and leadership on issues critical to the Alaska Native community,” said Interim President and CEO; and Chairman of the Board Sheri Buretta. “The SBA’s 8(a) business development program is the missing link to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) in that it provides an economic engine for ANCs to generate profits that benefit an entire community of Alaska Native shareholders. Beyond that, the Alaska Congressional Delegation and their staff understand that the success of ANCs echoes beyond our Alaska Native shareholders to help create jobs, inject capital and help strengthen the state’s economy. We thank Congressman Young for passing this provision in the House, as well as Senator Inhofe and his staff for their help in getting this important provision adopted.”
Like the majority of ANCs in government contracting, Chugach has experienced challenges over the past several years in securing federal contract awards as a direct result of attacks on the 8(a) program and resulting regulatory changes. Specifically, the stigma of language from section 811 has led to a significant decrease in awards to ANCs. These attacks are indicative of the ongoing misperceptions and lack of understanding surrounding ANCs and their participation in federal government 8(a) contracting.
Through opportunities created by the program, Chugach provides its 2,600 Alaska Native shareholders (an economically disadvantaged group) with countless benefits that would not otherwise exist.
These shareholder programs are an important focus of the business development model required by the ANCSA originally enacted in 1971. When Congress expanded the SBA’s 8(a) program to include community-based organizations and authorized businesses owned by ANCs, they understood that these Native enterprises benefit more than one individual or family. The profits of ANCs like Chugach benefit thousands of Alaska Natives through dividends, educational programs, scholarships and other programs.
The passage of the FY 2020 NDAA highlights the federal government’s confidence in the value ANCs bring to the federal government through contracting, while simultaneously recognizing the long-term impacts on current and future generations of Alaska Native people.
For more information, please contact Randi Jo Gause at (907) 261-0348.
About the Provision:
Senator Sullivan’s provision – Section 823 – requires the Department of Defense to remove overly burdensome restrictions first enacted in late 2009, which applied to only to Native 8(a) contractors. Specifically, this language reduces the administrative burden and lowers the disproportionately high level of approval authority for small-to-medium-sized sole-source contracts – $100 million and below – awarded to Native 8(a) contractors. This language – which Senator Sullivan included in the markup of the FY2020 NDAA – also positively impacts contracts above $100 million by delegating the approval for these contracts to the head of the procuring activity, or their designee.
Moreover, this provision, which applies to tribes, and Alaska Native and Hawaiian firms, helps ensure that DOD contracting officers have additional tools they need to quickly and efficiently procure products and services when the need arises. As the 2018 National Defense Strategy explicitly states, “Current processes are not responsive to need; the Department is over-optimized for exceptional performance at the expense of providing timely decision… We must not accept cumbersome approval chains… Delivering performance means we will shed outdated management practices and structures while integrating insights from business innovation.”
About Chugach Alaska Corporation:
Established in 1972 under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, Chugach Alaska Corporation exists to serve the interests of the Alaska Native people of the Chugach region with a focus on profitability, celebration of our heritage and ownership of our lands. Through responsible management of our lands, businesses and assets, we provide meaningful opportunities and benefits to our community of 2,600 shareholders. Chugach fulfills its mission through a range of investments and operating businesses that provide government, facilities and energy services. Learn more at www.chugach.com.
Contact: Randi Jo Gause, Director of Business Innovation & Communications
(907) 261-0348 (w)
(907) 301-8886 (c)