top of page

NEWS | Terms in Senate NDAA Aimed at Restoring Valor to Veterans

NSBA is proud to support Veterans and Service Members as they transition to small-business ownership.

In late July, the Senate passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which includes a number of wins for small business.

In addition to these important provisions awaiting approval in the House, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) was able to include requirements aimed at reconciling valor stolen from Veterans by a handful of bad actors posing as Veteran-owned small-business owners.

Under these requirements, small businesses that only self-certify as being service-disabled and veteran-owned would not count toward the government's goal of having three percent of contracting dollars going to such businesses.

While the changes would support Veterans, at issue is the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program, which allows the federal government to restrict competition for some contracts to just businesses owned by veterans with service-connected disabilities.

Despite these concerns, in late 2022, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) did not eliminate the ability to self-certify despite receiving some public concerns about fraud.

Sen. Ernst’s bill would not eliminate self-certification or prevent contracts from being awarded to self-certified businesses altogether; rather, according to Sen. Ernst, the aim of these Veteran-related provisions is to incentivize federal officials to award contracts to formally certified businesses and thereby disincentivize stolen valor and outright fraud.

For some additional context, officials from the SBA said its Veteran programs were consistent with other programs, such as the Women-Owned Small Business Program, that allow for self-certification but require formal certification in order for those contracts to count toward federal procurement goals. Those same officials also noted plans for a comprehensive review of all self-certification programs and anticipated sunsetting any self-certification in five years.

Currently, the SBA estimates that applying for and maintaining formal certification takes businesses about three hours and costs $280.32 per applicant.

Sen. Ernst is the first female combat Veteran to serve in the Senate. NSBA extends its thanks to her and all Veterans, and we are proud to support those former Service Members in their transition to small-business ownership.

Read more about NSBA’s Veterans’ Network here.


bottom of page