WASHINGTON -- Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, has requested that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld clarify the Pentagon's plans to meet its obligations under the Small Business Act. Senator Kerry is specifically concerned about a provision included in the FY 2002 Defense Department Appropriations Act, which reduced the amount of funding the former Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) is required to set aside for small businesses under an important research and development program. He has informed the Defense Department that, regardless of the contributions made by individual programs within the Defense Department to the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program, the Department as a whole is still bound by law to reserve 2.5 percent of all its extramural R&D budget for small business concerns.

"SBIR is an invaluable Research and Development program for our nation's small businesses," Kerry said. "Undercutting its budget would hurt small businesses, stagger high-tech innovation and dampen an already weakened economy. Unfortunately, this is just one example of a growing trend in which the Bush administration seems to be undermining critical small business programs."

January 29, 2002 Letter to Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld