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Defense thinks small for new contracts

March 26, 2011 at 2:37 PM

DETROIT, March 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Defense Department is increasing efforts to target small businesses for contract work, a department official said.

At a Small Business Defense Procurement Summit held in Detroit -- one of several planned for various cities -- Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said the department spends up to $200 billion per year on contracts with small business, The Detroit News reported Saturday.

"Small business is a necessary ingredient of getting a better deal for the defense dollar for two reasons," Carter said. "One is you tap into the talent and energy and vitality of small business. … And secondly, you get more competition from small businesses."

Michael Blake, associate director for the White House Office of Public Engagement, said the budget for small businesses would jump by $4 billion this year, climbing from 21.9 percent to 23 percent of the department's outside contracts.

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said, "We've got hundreds of companies in Michigan that do defense work. We want to continue to increase that number and make sure they know about opportunities in the defense area. It's a growing part of Michigan's economy."

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