According to the GSA, the goals of the initiative are to:

  • Raise awareness among GSA buyers and contract officers.
  • Identify service-disabled-veteran businesses that provide high-demand government products and services and assist those businesses in finding markets.
  • Establish a mentor program.
  • Partner with veterans organizations and support business-to-business partnerships among businesses in this category.

The GSA said that it will work closely with the Veterans Corp. (TVC), a federally chartered 501(c)(3) organization created by the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999 to provide business resources to veterans.

“We are gratified that TVC has volunteered to support our new initiative,” GSA Administrator Lurita Doan said. “Those who step forward in our national times of need do so at great personal sacrifice. Reaching out to service-disabled veterans is the right thing to do and provides government with resourceful women and men who have honed on the battlefield the skills that are the elements of business success, discipline and cooperation.”

Named for one of the nation’s highest honors, the goal of the Twenty-One Gun Salute is to allocate at least 3 percent—or $143 million—of GSA contract dollars to service-disabled veteran businesses in 2008.

“It is an honor to support service-disabled veterans,” said Chief of Staff John Phelps, the retired U.S. Army officer who leads the initiative. “Service-disabled veterans continue to serve our nation, applying their talent and commitment to others, developing successful businesses and creating jobs.”

The Twenty-One Gun Salute supports President George W. Bush’s Disabled Veterans Executive Order (13360), which directs all federal agencies to develop and implement strategies to meet a goal of at least 3 percent for participation by service-disabled veteran businesses in federal contracting. The GSA noted that it has met its 3 percent goals in the other socioeconomic categories.

In the past year, the GSA awarded the first governmentwide information technology contracts set aside for service-disabled-veteran-owned businesses to 44 companies and added 700 businesses in that category to its vendor list, up from 100 in 2006.