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About the OSDBU

OSDBU Mission and Focus

The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) promotes and develops strategies for small business participation in the DHS contracting program while adhering to federal regulations and ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion in the procurement process.

Our mission is to maximize opportunities for small businesses including women-owned small businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, businesses located in a Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone), 8(a) certified small businesses, and small disadvantaged businesses.

In virtually every segment of our homeland security community, there are small businesses working to support the DHS mission. You can learn more about how the OSDBU supports DHS Small Business Goals and Achievements.

OSDBU Organization and Leadership

The DHS OSDBU partners with the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO) in promoting small businesses in the acquisition process. The OSDBU reports to the Deputy Secretary. Learn about the small business programs managed by each member of the OSDBU team.

  • Executive Director, OSDBU: E. Darlene Bullock

  • Deputy Director, OSDBU: Cherita Thomas

The Importance of DHS OSDBU

America is home to more than 30 million small businesses that account for nearly 65 percent of private sector net job creation and employ nearly half of the country’s workforce. These businesses are pivotal to the economy and critical to our nation’s strength.

Recognizing the vital role of small businesses, public policy leaders enacted the Small Business Act of 1953, which created and empowered the Small Business Administration (SBA) to “counsel and assist small business concerns and assist contracting personnel to ensure that a fair proportion of government contracts for supplies and services is placed with small businesses.” 

The Small Business Act of 1953, as amended by Public Law 95-507, established the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). Section 15(k) requires that all federal agencies with procurement powers establish an OSDBU. This law is one of many designed to enhance the participation of small and disadvantaged businesses in federal procurement.

How OSDBU Supports DHS Acquisitions

The OSDBU works with the DHS Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO), the ten Heads of Contracting buying activities, and the Component small business specialists to ensure there are set-aside opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses.

We create awareness of the benefits of working with small and disadvantaged businesses through outreach and in-reach, marketing and training, assisting contracting officers with complicated small business issues, and partnering with small business trade associations.

The DHS small business program is a shared responsibility among all DHS employees involved in the acquisition process. Through a unified team approach involving senior management, small business personnel, acquisition personnel, and technical/program staff, we support both our critical national mission and the important public policy objective of small business inclusion in our acquisition program.

DHS is recognized as a leader in small business contracting and as the largest federal agency with a track record of unmatched success as recognized by the Small Business Administration. By adopting small business program initiatives and best practices that are unique to the Federal Government, DHS has paved the way to promote opportunities for small businesses to participate in Agency contracting programs, improving mission success. Through these initiatives, DHS has regularly and consistently met or exceeded federally mandated statutory and DHS annual small business goals. These successes can be seen on our most recent SBA Scorecard.

  • Vendor Outreach Sessions (held monthly - 10 per fiscal year)
  • Vendor Outreach Matchmaking Events (varies throughout the year) 
  • Small business specialists in each buying activity
  • Annual forecast of contract opportunities (Acquisition Planning Forecast System, APFS)
  • Outreach Activities (including monthly vendor outreach sessions)
  • DHS Mentor-Protégé Program
  • Annual recognition of DHS small businesses and small business advocates
  • Small Business Review Form (700-22) for each contracting action expected to exceed $250,000
  • Conduct training for acquisition professionals about federal small business contracting programs



Last Updated: 04/25/2024
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