The Alaska Native Corporation program was created in 1971 to settle land claims and help improve life for native Alaskans. Spending on ANC contracts has gone from $506 million in 2000 to $5 billion in 2009. However, the ANC program has come under greater scrutiny in 2010. This year legislation has been proposed that would require competition for contracts and that corporations be managed by native executives. Opponents say the program can be reformed, but removing preferences for ANCs is not the answer.
Why it matters to the GovCon space?
Written by: Jeff White, Founder at govWin
I believe this is a very polarizing debate and in my opinion is less about ANC and more about small business and equity across disadvantaged businesses. I am no expert in how these programs came to be, their goal, and should there be a life to the programs, but as a layman it seems to me the ultimate goal is to help level the playing field to classifications of businesses who otherwise face otherwise unfair or unintended disadvantages. The classifications of those businesses seem to be set, the set aside goals seem to be agreeable by all parties, so the only debate is nuanced preferential treatment (aka recent 8M status, and HUBZone as part of the jobs bill).
Personally I would like to see two things occur:
1) Increased small business goals by the government across the board. If job growth one of the top priorities, and 60% of all job growth comes from small businesses, then incenting this should be a top goal for the government.
2) Teeth to the goals – We are a nation that achieves our goals and holds people accountable (good and bad) for this — All stakeholders to this dynamic (agencies, primes, etc) should be accountable to these goals and those that hit them rewarded for their efforts and those that miss them equally held accountable.
Written by: Rich Wilkinson, VP, Government Contracting, Deltek
The ANCs were created by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971, but the special procurement preferences that turned them into billion-dollar defense contractors were engineered by the late Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska in the late 90’s. He used his powerful position on the Senate Appropriations Committee to insert them into Defense Authorization bills and successfully defended them against all detractors as long as he held office. The special preferences are very unpopular in certain quarters of the GovCon community and the very powerful Senator Claire McCaskil (D, MO) introduced a bill on November 17th, 2010, (S.3959) to repeal them.
Lisa Murkowski took over Ted Steven’s seat on the committee and has also defended the special preferences, but her apparently successful write-in candidacy for reelection is now the subject of a legal challenge. If she is ultimately successful in retaining her position and her committee seat, she might very well hold off Senator McCaskill’s challenge. If not… Well, to use an Alaskan expression, the ANCs could be in for some very rough sledding.
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