AFMC's performance means big bucks for AF small business Published Dec. 20, 2006 By Kathleen A.K. Lopez Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE -- In exceeding goals in all five categories of its Small Business Program performance, Air Force Materiel Command is at the top of the Air Force list for dollars awarded to small businesses in fiscal 2006. Specifically, AFMC's Small Business Office awarded more than $4.6 billion - or 52.8 percent - of Air Force dollars obligated to small business in five categories: small, small disadvantaged, woman-owned, historically underutilized business zone, and service-disabled Veteran-owned. The Air Force's eight other major commands, along with its four direct reporting units, combined to award the remaining 47.2 percent of Air Force small business dollars obligated. "Clearly, our command is the main driver for Air Force small business performance," said Sonia K. Carlton, AFMC Small Business Office director. "As a result of our stellar performance, the Air Force met or exceeded all of its small business goals, as well." While much of the success for exceeding these goals can be attributed to the small business offices and acquisition teams throughout AFMC, Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of AFMC, applauds the command's executive director, Barbara A. Westgate, for her enthusiasm toward and knowledge about small business. "She is a staunch advocate for the Small Business program," General Carlson said. "She understands the vitality of it. In fact, over the past couple years she has helped to strengthen the program tremendously." The command's accomplishments are particularly rewarding as acquisition teams continue to be challenged to find ways for small businesses to compete with larger ones for Air Force contracts, Ms. Carlton said. She explained how changes in the economy, as well as acquisition transformations, directly affect small business, which is why she attends numerous small business conferences to take the mystery out of doing business with the government. Strategic sourcing - the consolidation of many purchases into fewer purchases to become more efficient - has placed new challenges on AFMC acquisition teams Ms. Carlton said. "For example, in some cases, we are packaging what used to be thousands of contract actions into one or only a few," she said. "Small businesses can't always compete on such large acquisitions." This limitation is why exceeding goals for fiscal 2006 is such a considerable achievement. "It is the capabilities, innovations and responsiveness of our small businesses that often make them the suppliers of choice," she said. "They bring innovation, creativity, responsiveness and flexibility. "We must remember that small business spurs the economy, and anything that makes our economy strong makes our national security stronger." By definition in the Federal Acquisition Regulation, a small business concern means a concern, including its affiliates, which is independently owned and operated, not dominant in the field of operation in which it is bidding on government contracts, and qualified as a small business under the criteria and size standards in the Code of Federal Regulations. For more information about the Air Force small business program, log onto www.selltoairforce.org .