A recent report by the Government Accounting Office has found significant problems with the DOD Pilot Mentor-Protégé Program. The program was created 1990 and provides incentives for major defense contractor to assist smaller firms. The goal is to give the smaller firms some competitive advantages when competing for government contracts.
The report says that many of these DoD Mentor-Protege agreements do not follow government guidelines and do not have required elements like an assessment of the protege’s needs and description of the specific assistance the mentor will provide to the protégé.
It states: “These missing elements suggested that the [DOD] components’ procedures for approving mentor-protege agreements do not provide reasonable assurance that agreements are completed in accordance with DOD requirements.”
The report also took a sample of these agreements and found that 25% did not have adequately signed documents. Without a proper signature, the report speculates that the agreements themselves are not valid and do not exist.
Based on the data, the report concludes that a larger investigation must be done into whether small businesses are actually being helped by the program. The DOD does not have the tools necessary to “fully assess how well the program is enhancing the capabilities of small businesses to perform under DOD and other contracts,” according to the report.
The DOD has responded to the report on the DoD Mentor-Protege agreements and has offered suggestions on ways to improve the program. It pledged to put those suggestions into action.
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