Secretary of Defense Tightens Check on Bias in Contracts

Development of a uniform procedural program, which would carry out the President’s nondiscrimination policy regarding government contracts, for application to Defense Department contracts was ordered this week-end by Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson.

The policy set forth by the President is designed to promote equal employment opportunity, without regard to race, color, or religion, for all qualified persons employed on government contracts.

Secretary Wilson’s directive states that the Department of Defense shall undertake a program to familiarize contracting officers, contract administrators and other personnel dealing with procurement with “the spirit, intent and requirements of the President’s policy.” This program will be reviewed periodically to measure its progress and will be modified as circumstances require.

In addition, the Army, Navy and Air Force will establish educational programs to impress upon their contractors and prospective contractors their own responsibilities regarding non-discrimination.

A uniform procedural program will be developed by the Armed Services Procurement Regulation Committee to assure compliance with the President’s policy in the contracting program. Under the procedural program, each of the military departments will publicize the policy to prospective contractors with a statement that the award of the contract imposes upon the contractor an obligation not to discriminate against an employee or applicant for employment because of race, religion, color, or national origin.

The uniform procedural program will also encourage and persuade contractors to comply with the spirit as well as the letter of this obligation; establish investigative procedures for the disposition of complaints, with reports on complaints transmitted to the President’s Committee on Government Contracts; appraise contractors’ compliance with the nondiscrimination clause of their contract both during contract administration and in normal reviews of contract compliance; and study representative contractors to measure the progress of the program and develop educational data involving it.

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