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supreme

By Debbie Gregory.

The Supreme Court came down on the side of veteran business owners by finding that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) failed to comply with a law aimed at increasing the number of federal contracts awarded to veteran owned small businesses.

The justices sided with Kingdomware Technologies Inc., a service disabled veteran-owned contractor based in Maryland that said it should have been considered to provide services for a VA medical center.

The issue before the Court was whether a federal law which provides that, as long as certain conditions are met, the Department of Veterans Affairs “shall award” contracts to small businesses owned by veterans applies every time the department awards contracts.  The federal government had argued that the rule left some room for discretion, but on June 16th, the Court rejected that argument.  “Shall,” the Court emphasized, was meant as a command, not an option.

The case dates back to 2012, when the VA awarded a contract for an emergency notification system that would send information to its employees, to a company that was not owned by a veteran. Kingdomware, which is owned by a U.S. Army veteran who was permanently disabled from an injury that he suffered while serving in 1991’s Operation Desert Storm, challenged the award. Kingdomware provides web, software, and technology solutions to enterprise problems.

Federal law requires the agency to use a bidding process if two or more disabled veteran-owned companies can offer service at a fair and reasonable price. But the VA argued the “rule of two” does not apply when it buys goods and services from vendors that already have contracts with the agency under a system called the Federal Supply Schedule.

Justice Clarence Thomas said the rule applies to all contract determinations.

A federal appeals court had said the VA did not have to follow the rule of two if it otherwise met the goal of awarding between 7 percent and 12 percent of all contracts to companies owned by disabled veterans. But Thomas said meeting annual benchmarks does not allow the VA to ignore a mandatory contracting rule

Veteran-owned small businesses see the ruling as a victory that gives them more opportunities to compete for contracts from the VA which, they would say, is exactly what Congress intended.

JDAM

Boeing Co was awarded a $3.2 billion contract modification to a previously awarded contract for Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tailkits, according to the Pentagon.

The contract for the tailkits, which use GPS to boost accuracy for conventional bombs, was raised from an initial $1.75 billion contract awarded on Oct. 30, 2014, due to warfighter demand and to replenish depleted inventories, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The JDAM tailkit converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into accurate, adverse weather “smart” munitions. With the addition of a new tail section that contains an inertial navigational system and a global positioning system guidance control unit, JDAM improves the accuracy of unguided, general purpose bombs in any weather condition.

Once released from the aircraft, the JDAM autonomously navigates to the designated target coordinates. Target coordinates can be loaded into the aircraft before takeoff, manually altered by the aircrew before weapon release, or automatically entered through target designation with onboard aircraft sensors.

With a range of more than 15 nautical miles, JDAM can defeat high-value targets in any weather, day or night, with minimal risk to air crews. This system works fine even in bad weather, because the JDAM gets all its information from satellite signals, which aren’t blocked by cloud cover or obstacles. The bomb doesn’t have to see anything at all to find its way to the target.

New variants such as Laser JDAM and JDAM Extended Range allow warfighters to prosecute moving targets and deploy the weapon from greater distances, capabilities that come with little to no development risk since they are based on proven technology.

The JDAM played a major role in the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and it will certainly play a significant role in any U.S. bombing campaigns in the near future. While the newest smart bombs aren’t 100 percent accurate, they are such an improvement over their predecessors.

More than 260,000 JDAM kits have been built at Boeing’s production facility in St. Charles, MO.

JDAM is a joint U.S. Air Force and Department of Navy program.

EBV10 part2

By Tina M Kapral | Senior Director of  Education and Training
Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University

In July of 2007, Dr. J. Michael Haynie held the first Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) class of seventeen students. These individuals were from across the U.S., from different service branches and ages, but all had the dream of owning their own businesses. The business ideas ranged from construction firms to non-profit organizations helping other veterans. The EBV residency phase was and still is intense — long days of classes, taught from a very practical standpoint, and late nights working on venture pitches to present at the end of the week. This was a purposeful approach.  Servicemembers know what to expect in “bootcamp” and that is exactly what they received, classes delivered on opportunity recognition, marketing, operations, supply chain, government contracts, legal and human resource management to name a few.  It was a great success; all seventeen students graduated at the end of week with pride and a new “mission” in life.

As it is often said, good news travels fast. As other schools heard of EBV and its success, many more schools wanted to have their own EBV programs.  This led Dr. Haynie to create the EBV consortium. First to join, Florida State University, then UCLA, Purdue, UCONN, Texas A&M, to today, where the EBV’s 10-university consortium also includes Cornell, LSU, Saint Joseph’s University, and University of Missouri, with the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University continuing to serve as the national hub. EBV has since helped Dr. Haynie launch other veteran and military family entrepreneurship training programs to include EBV-F, VWISE, Boots to Business, and Boots to Business Reboot

.

Dr. Haynie never envisioned EBV to grow to ten schools, nor did he anticipate the launch of the IVMF in 2011. Yet, through these programs and services dedicated to advancing the post-service lives of America’s servicemembers, veterans and their families, the Institute and current Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud are bringing Syracuse University’s commitment to veterans and their families full circle.

In 1940, “The University promised programs that would address individual needs of veterans, whether they wished to complete job training, their high school diploma, or an advanced degree.”  Post-World War II, Chancellor William Pearson Tolley recognized the role that higher education can play in advancing our nation’s returning veterans. He announced Syracuse University’s “uniform admissions program,” which ensured all military personnel admission to Syracuse upon return from war.” http://vets.syr.edu/about/role-impact.

History repeats itself, but this time in a positive, impactful way for our aspiring vetrepreneurs.

ESGR

Debbie Gregory, the CEO of MilitaryConnection.com, founder of the Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, and co-founder of Joining Forces California has been appointed by the California Employer Support to the Guard and Reserve Chair, BG (R) Jim Combs to the volunteer position of Director of Employer Outreach for California’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office.

The ESGR develops and promotes employer support for Guard and Reserve service by advocating relevant initiatives, recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of applicable laws, and resolving conflict between employers and service members.

“Debbie’s passion to serve the needs of our troops and their families has resulted in success in virtually everything she touches,” said General Combs. “Her leadership with CA ESGR will enhance California’s partnership with the business community, which will result in a more capable military force here at home.”
Ms. Gregory’s new role will also enable her to facilitate signing ceremonies for companies wanting to sign a Statement of Support for their Guard and Reserve employees. The Statement of Support increases employer support by encouraging employers to act as advocates for employee participation in the military. USERRA, The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 is a federal law and the law of the land. Supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units.

Additionally, employers are eligible to be nominated by their employees who are Guard and Reserve for the prestigious Secretary of Defense, Freedom Award. Each year there are fifteen winners among employers of all sizes for their willingness to go above and beyond the law in providing their employees the support they need.

“Recognizing supportive employers is vital, not only to ESGR’s mission, but to the safety and security of our nation,” said Ms. Gregory. She added, “The brave men and women of the Guard and Reserve who don our country’s military uniform provide disaster relief here at home, and also serve around the world to protect the freedoms we hold dear.”

If your company is interested in joining thousands of employers by signing a Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve to display prominently for all your employees and visitors to see, please contact Debbie Gregory at debbieg(at)militaryconnection.com.

VAMBOA Joins Forces with the National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) to Advance Vet Owned Businesses

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA), a 501(c)6 non-profit trade association, is proud to join forces with the National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC), the leading third party certification organization for veteran owned businesses. Together, the two organizations are working towards advancing certification for service disabled and veteran owned businesses (SD/VOBs).

VAMBOA founder Debbie Gregory said, “Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to the brave men and women who have worn our country’s uniform. In the private sector, veterans are 45 percent more likely than those with no active-duty military experience to be self-employed. Moreover, with nearly one in ten small businesses being veteran-owned, it is up to all of us to support them and contribute to their successes.”

The NVBDC, a 501(c)3 non-profit, is also committed to growing veteran owned businesses, and to that end has created a nationally recognized certification program via an easy and intuitive web based interface to complete the certification process.

Keith King, NVBDC president said, “We set out to build the ‘Gold Standard’ certification program for our fellow SD/VOBs, and we have done that. With the support and endorsement of GM, AT&T, Kellogg’s, Ford, Magna International, 3M, CPI, Consumers Energy and many more corporations, we are proud to provide an opportunity for VAMBOA members and our certified SD/VOBs to work with America’s leading corporations.

About VAMBOA
VAMBOA’s mission is to ensure the development, growth and prosperity of veteran owned businesses of all sizes. VAMBOA’s “Vet Owned” seal symbolizes the talent, dedication, leadership and courage of these special Americans who currently serve or have served in our nation’s Armed Forces. Membership is in the 501(c) 6 trade association is free. If you would like to sign up for membership, please visit http://www.vamboa.org. VAMBOA relies on corporate sponsorship. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please call Debbie Gregory at (877) 850-9800.

About NVBDC
The NVBDC’s principal goals are to promote business opportunities for SD/VOBs within commercial and government markets; to support the interests of all Veteran Owned Businesses; to facilitate interaction between VOBs, government, and all other businesses in support of business initiatives for Veterans; and to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information between its members, government agencies and industry through networking, committees, meetings, conferences and visits to government and industry facilities. The NVBDC is the certification body for SD/VOB’s that ensures that credible documentation exists of a business’ veteran status, ownership and control.

Historically the Industry Supplier Diversity programs have relied on non-government organizations to provide them with independent third party certification. The Government controlled Center for Veteran Enterprise does not verify MEDIUM or LARGE companies, thereby denying them a formal veteran business recognition. The NVBDC certifies all sizes of veteran businesses. Industry can be positive that a SD/VOB certified by the NVBDC is in fact an owned, operated and controlled veteran business.

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