Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



The Minority Business Enterprise Program has been in existence for almost 6 years. Executive Orders have been issued involving all Government departments and agencies in the endeavor of assisting and fostering minority enterprises. The program's objectives are to provide and expand opportunity to minority firms so that they may participate and share in the free enterprise system. Through Federal contracts, the Government seeks to promote the establishment and the growth of minority business concerns so that these companies may become self-sustaining competitive entities. This thesis addresses the question of participation of three Federal science agencies. These are The Atomic Energy Commission, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and The Department of Defense. The study focuses on the extent of complicity with the Executive Orders. In analyzing this factor, the thesis evaluates direct contracting, 8(a) contracting and subcontracting. The types of products and services placed under 8(a) are analyzed. Emphasis is given 8(a) contracting because it is the only authorized method of purchasing which deviates from common procurement practices. The study compares the rules, regulations and other directives of the three agencies as to adequacy, relevance and utility in meeting the commitments of the Minority Business Enterprise Program. Interviews with Government officials from the agencies as well as from the Small Business Administration and other organizations became the basis for this investigation. Companies which have participated in the 8(a) Program were requested to answer a questionnaire relative to the usefulness and effectiveness of the program. The compilation of this data as well as statistics on the number of contracts and their amounts placed with minority firms provide the foundation upon which the results and conclusion of the thesis are made. The information obtained shows that 24 percent of the total number of 8(a) contracts were in traditional areas, while 41 percent were in construction. Seventeen percent of the contracts were in non-traditional areas. The commitment to the program varies from agency to agency. The attitude of Government officials was reported as one of the biggest obstacles to a more effective program. The recommendations are presented in three segments; one part for the Federal agencies, another for the Small Business Administration and a third are of a general nature. The recommendations point to one thing-­ commitment, It will take more resources than are now available to conduct the type of program which will produce meaningful results. The Minority Business Enterprise Program requires priority rating and should be given the high status prescribed by the Executive Orders. This national objective must receive its impetus from both the Government and private sources.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

Albert H. Rosenthal

Second Committee Member

Donald Winston Smithburg

Third Committee Member

Gerald Joseph Boyle


This thesis was prepared through an In-service Fellowship Program. I wish to express my appreciation to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for supporting the Program for Advanced Study in Public Science Policy and Administration at the University of New Mexico. My special thanks go to the Johnson Space Center personnel who provided me with the opportunity for participating in the Program, particularly to Joseph D. Atkinson, chief of the Equal Employment Opportunity Office, whose encouragement and support made it possible for me to attend this program. My sincere thanks go to Professor Albert H. Rosenthal, Director, Program for Advanced Study in Public Science Policy and Administration, Professor Donald W. Smithburg and Professor Gerald Boyle for their sage comments and counsel as well as for their contribution to my education. A note of appreciation also go to all eight Fellows who participated in the program. Their advice, influence and the sharing of experiences have contributed significantly. My special thanks go to my wife, Betty, for her understanding and support as well as for her efforts in editing this paper.



Document Type