Bibb Leads MOU Signing with Vet Force
David L. Bibb
U.S. General Services Administration
GSA-Vet Force MOU Signing
August 19, 2008
Good morning, everyone. Thank you all for coming over this morning, for your service to our nation, and for the work you do on behalf of veterans 365 days a year.
I’m very pleased at the turnout and by the presence of Deputy Administrator Leslie Field from OFPP, and Tony Martoccia, Director of DOD’s Office of Small Business Program.
The document we sign this morning is a pact that says GSA and Vet Force will work in lockstep to assist small businesses owned by vets and service-disabled vets.
This is a continuation of our efforts – and yours – to help agencies meet their mandated goal of spending 3 percent of their contract dollars with firms owned by service-disabled veterans.
The philosophy behind this effort is sound and simple. When we expand economic opportunities for veterans, we help the brave men and women who put their personal aspirations and safety second to our nation’s security and ideals.
But we also help ourselves, because we’re drawing on men and women who know teamwork, discipline, cooperation, and mission accomplishment.
So yes, the philosophy is sound and simple. But the execution of this initiative has proven more difficult for a number of reasons. That is why GSA is partnering with veterans’ organizations like Vet Force, and why we’ve taken steps like the 21-Gun Salute.
The 21-Gun Salute supports President Bush’s Executive Order directing that at least 3 percent of all federal agencies’ contracting dollars go to businesses owned by service-disabled vets. Noteworthy is that through July of this year, service-disabled firms on GSA Schedules have done $793 million worth of business with the government. Last year – for the entire year – the corresponding figure was $789 million. So with two months still to go, we’ve already surpassed where we were last year.
Our agency has also tried to lead by example. GSA dollars spent with businesses owned by service-disabled vets rose from 1.46 percent in fiscal 2006 to just over 2 percent in fiscal 2007, and, based on preliminary data, to 3.15 percent for fiscal 2008.
The bottom line is that while parades and speeches are important, honoring those who served is more about doing than talking. That’s why we we’re here today and proud to join hands with your organization.
Working together will help us put the American dream within reach of those who fought to protect the freedoms and ideals we all hold so dear. Much remains to be done, but the numbers are moving in the right direction. Now is no time to let up.
Thanks again for coming and for joining forces with GSA on behalf of our nation’s veterans.