The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is required to perform a Rule of Two analysis for all procurements, regardless whether they involve items on the AbilityOne list, according to a recently published decision published by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
The Veterans Benefits Act of 2006 (VBA) mandates that before procuring goods and services, the VA must first determine whether there are at least two veteran-owned small businesses capable of performing the work. If so, the VA must limit competition to veteran-owned small businesses. This process is known as the "rule of Two" analysis.
The Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act (JWOD) requires government agencies, including the VA, to purchase products and services from designated non-profits that employ blind and otherwise severly disabled people when those products or services appear on a list known as the "AbilityOne List".
The question before the court was which procurement priority must the VA first employ, the VBA or the JWOD. The court found that the VA is required to perform a Rule of Two analysis for all procurements after the VBA was passed (i.e. in 2006). Accordingly, the VA may not enter into future contracts with AbilityOne until it performs a Rule of Two analysis and determines whether two or more veteran-owned small businesses can perform the subject work.
This is good news for SDVOSBs (Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses) and VOSBs (Veteran Owned Small Business) but not such good news for non-profits employing blind and severely disabled persons.
You can read the full decisions here.