There were relatively few comments on the definitions proposed in the SNPRM. One commenter wanted to substitute the term ``historically underutilized business'' for DBE. Given the continued use of the DBE term in Congressional consideration of the program, the continued use of the ``socially and economically disadvantaged individuals'' language in the statute, and the familiarity of concerned parties with the DBE term, we do not believe changing the term would be a good idea.
A few commenters asked for additional definitions or elaboration of existing definitions (e.g., ``form of arrangement,'' ``financial assistance program,'' ``commercially useful function''). These terms are either already defined sufficiently or are best understood in context of the operational sections in which they are embedded, and abstract definitions in this section would not add much to anyone's ability to make the program work well. Consequently, we are not adding them. Otherwise the final rule adopts the SNPRM proposals for definitions with only minor editorial changes.
The Department has added, for the sake of clarity and consistency with other Federal programs, definitions of the terms Alaskan native, Alaskan native corporation (ANC), Indian tribe, immediate family member, Native Hawaiian, Native Hawaiian organization, principal place of business, primary industry classification, and tribally-owned concern. These definitions are taken from the SBA's new small disadvantaged business program regulation (13 CFR Sec. 124.3). The definitions of the designated groups included in the definition of "socially and economically disadvantaged individual" also derive from the SBA regulations, as the Department's DBE statutes require. We believe these will be useful terms of art in implementing the DBE program.
A few commenters requested definitions for the terms "race- conscious" and "race-neutral," and we have provided definitions. A race-conscious program is one that focuses on, and provides benefits only for, DBEs. The use of contract goals is the primary example of a race-conscious measure in the DBE program. A race-neutral program is one that, while benefiting DBEs, is not solely focused on DBE firms. For example, small business outreach programs, technical assistance programs, and prompt payment clauses can assist a wide variety of small businesses, not just DBEs.