2021 NDAA: Hello, SBA SDVOSB Certification; Bye Bye, VA CVE
On December 3, 2020, Senators Inhofe and Reed announced that the Senate and House Armed Services Committees had reached a bicameral agreement on the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act ("NDAA"). Notably, this year's NDAA not only ensures that the United States has the "best planes, ships, and tanks," as the announcement puts it, but also creates a governmentwide SDVOSB certification requirement.
Specifically, once the bill becomes law, the shot clock will start ticking for the Department of Veterans Affairs ("VA") Center for Verification and Evaluation ("CVE") to be transferred to the Small Business Administration ("SBA"). The transition period is "2 years after the date of enactment of this Act" and after then, SDVOSBs will need to be certified "by the Administrator" to be eligible for set-aside contracts (i.e., no more self-certifications in non-VA procurements).
Section 862 of the 2021 NDAA Conference Report provides the full details of the new governmentwide SDVOSB certification requirement.
Notably, the Conference Report provides both that:
the Administrator shall—
‘‘(1) certify the status of a concern as a small business concern owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans; and
‘‘(2) require the periodic recertification of such status.’’;
a contracting officer may only award a sole source contract to a small business concern owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans or a contract on the basis of competition restricted to small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans if such a concern is certified by the Administrator as a small business concern owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans.
While the Conference Report is not yet law, this new SBA SDVOSB certification requirement will probably not change if the bill isn't signed into law as written. Ultimately, this is yet another move in the right direction for small business government contractors, as the new SBA SDVOSB certification follows SBA's recent WOSB certification, which took effect on October 15, 2020. 
 Notably, the SBA implemented the WOSB certification program pursuant to the 2015 NDAA.
. . .