Military members are generally allowed to bid on government contracts if they meet certain eligibility requirements. However, there are some restrictions and potential conflicts of interest that should be taken into consideration.
Firstly, military members are subject to the conflict of interest rules outlined in the Joint Ethics Regulation (JER). These rules prohibit military members from participating in government contracts if it would create a personal or financial conflict of interest. For example, if a military member’s spouse owns a company bidding on a government contract, the military member would be prohibited from participating in the procurement process.
Additionally, military members are subject to certain restrictions when competing for government contracts. For example, they may be prohibited from using government resources, including information they have access to during their duties, to develop a bid for a government contract. They may also be required to obtain approval from their commanding officer before submitting an offer for a government contract.
It’s important to note that bidding on government contracts can be a complex process, and military members interested in doing so should consult with their legal advisors to ensure they follow all applicable rules and regulations.
What is the Joint Ethics Regulation (JER)?
The Joint Ethics Regulation (JER) is a comprehensive set of rules that govern the ethical behavior of military members and Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees. Here are some highlights of the JER:
Conflicts of interest
- The JER prohibits military members and DoD civilian employees from engaging in activities that create a personal or financial conflict of interest with their official duties. This includes activities that could give the appearance of impropriety, even if no actual conflict of interest exists.
Gifts and gratuities
- The JER sets limits on the gifts and gratuities that military members and DoD civilian employees may accept from outside sources. Generally, gifts over a certain dollar amount must be refused, and gifts from prohibited sources (such as contractors or foreign governments) are always prohibited.
- The JER restricts the employment activities of former military members and DoD civilian employees to prevent them from using their government contacts and knowledge for personal gain.
Use of government resources
- The JER prohibits military members and DoD civilian employees from using government resources (such as time, equipment, or information) for personal gain or outside activities.
Misuse of position
- The JER prohibits military members and DoD civilian employees from using their official positions for personal gain or to benefit friends or family members.
- The JER places limits on the political activities of military members and DoD civilian employees to ensure that they do not appear to be speaking for or representing the DoD in their personal political activities.
These are just a handful of examples within the Joint Ethics Regulation. The JER is a comprehensive document that covers a wide range of ethical issues, and military members and DoD civilian employees are expected to be familiar with its contents and follow its guidelines at all times. If you are a military member considering pursuing federal contracts, becoming acquainted with the JER is important.
Does Active Duty Military Qualify for SD/VOSB?
Active military members generally do not qualify for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) or Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) certification, as these designations are intended for businesses that are majority-owned and controlled by veterans or service-disabled veterans who have separated or retired from military service.
To be eligible for SDVOSB or VOSB certification, a business must meet the following requirements:
- SDVOSB: The business must be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans who have separated or retired from military service.
- VOSB: The business must be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more veterans who have separated or retired from military service.
Active military members, by definition, have not separated or retired from military service, so they would not be eligible for SDVOSB or VOSB certification.
However, other programs and resources are available to help active military members start or grow their businesses, such as the Small Business Administration’s Boots to Business program and the Department of Defense’s Office of Small Business Programs.
Once you are retired from the military, you can pursue your SD/VOSB certification for your business with the SBA. There are trained professionals available to assist you at no cost through this process at your local APEX Accelerator. Duwel Dev has a Certified Verification Assistance Counselor on staff to help you with your Veteran certification at no charge if you still need to qualify for APEX services.