SBIR Insider Newsletter
Dear SBIR Insider,
We have a few critical updates for you as well as news on many other issues. How about breaking the DoD SBIR program out from the others and making it permanent? How about breaking the DoD services (Army, Navy Air Force) out from under the OSD? We've got this and much more for you.
In this issue
Proposed Legislative Changes for the DoD SBIR/STTR
Although it's early in the process, Representative Mac Thornberry (R-TX) chair of the House Armed Services Committee, and Adam Smith (D-WA), the Committee's ranking member introduced H.R. 1597, a bill aimed at reforming the DoDs broken acquisition system. The legislation is intended as a discussion draft, a warm up, if you will, for the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Obviously congressman Thornberry and his staff are very familiar with SBIR, its benefits and the struggles to reauthorize the program. He is also familiar with the National Academies' National Research Council (NRC) reports on SBIR, DoD in particular. Thornberry sees the technological advantages, and streamlined acquisition benefit of SBIR/STTR. Consequently he incorporated some changes for the DoD SBIR/STTR in portions of his H.R. 1597, "Agile Acquisition to Retain Technological Edge Act."
In this bill, DoD would break off from the rest of the other SBIR programs and become permanent (no need for the reauthorization mess we've been going through). Also of note is that the DoD services would break out from under the OSD's Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) SBIR umbrella. As Mr. Thornberry states: " establishing programs under each of the military services to be managed in a decentralized fashion and making the program permanent for the Department of Defense".
It seems that the House Armed Services committee is aware that the OSD's OSBP has been making a "play" to gain control of the services' SBIR/STTR funding and program management. This is not playing well on the Hill, nor is it in the services (Army, Navy Air Force). Same is true on the street where some of the more familiar small businesses are fearing that OSD might pull this off.
"Me too " is what our "Secret Squirrel is hearing from the smaller but non-the-less important DoD entities such as MDA and DARPA. They would like the autonomy that the bigger services have.
There are additional complexions to this proposed legislation, one of which is extending RIF through 2020. You can download the entire bill (see section 506/507) at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-114hr1597ih/pdf/BILLS-114hr1597ih.pdf or just the SBIR/STTR portion of Mr. Thornberry's discussion paper from our site at zyn.com/sbir/insider/hr1597draft_report-sec-506-507.pdf.
The bill has been sent to the House Small Business Committee, the Science, Space, and Technology committee, as well as the Oversight and Government Reform committee. We'll keep you informed.
The DoD SBIR web site, and the manner by which you find DoD SBIR/STTR information, as well as the way you submit your DoD SBIR/STTR proposals, will make a major change starting April 17, 2015 at 5:00pm edt (yes that's 1700). At that time the long standing "DoD SBIR Resource Center" located at dodsbir.net will be shutdown and replaced by a new web site at sbir.defensebusiness.org.
The DoD's sbir.defensebusiness.org (run by OSD's OSBP) is promising to streamline your user experience. Although the next DoD SBIR/STTR solicitation (15.2 / 15.B) doesn't hit the streets until April 24, this new site will start accepting Phase II submissions at 5:00pm on the 17th.
This will amount to the "soft opening" of the site, fairly low traffic until the prerelease of 15.2 SBIR hits the streets on April 24. Volume should not pose a problem for the new site because they appear to be using the "Amazon Cloud". However, this new generation site faces the challenges of handling lots of data, while you the user will most likely have a learning curve.
A word of caution, this new site uses modern SSL security which requires modern browsers for safety and compatibility. That means those of you with older browsers may have to update your systems to be compatible. In fact, you should do this anyway regardless of the SBIR system.
We're not sure if the main DoD SBIR entry web site (http://www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/sbir/) will be continued, but we suspect it will at least for the near future.
Since 1999 the DoD's SBIR Resource Center web site, (dodsbir.net) has been run and managed by the contractor BRTRC. Although we can say that BRTRC has been a very good support contractor over all these years, we have to say that Ms. Christine Villa, BRTRC's CTO has been nothing short of a stellar asset to the DoD SBIR/STTR community she has served. Ms. Villa's involvement reaches to overall SBIR programmatic support for more than 20 years, (far beyond web sites), and stretches back to the paper submission days. When we talk about "boots on the ground" Villa's made some of the strongest imprints, while still remaining "fashionable." Christine Villa and her company will still be involved in other SBIR activity.
We welcome the new contractor, ByteCubed of Arlington, VA, to our SBIR community.
There is still time to nominate small businesses, support organizations and/or individuals for the 2015 Tibbetts Awards. These are presented to those who are judged to exemplify the best in the SBIR program.
You can nominate a small business, a person and/or a support organization. Self nominations are also encouraged! Winners will be invited to participate at ceremonies being held at the White House on June 15, 2015.
To make things easier for you, new nomination forms have just been posted on the sbir.gov. Complete details are available at www.sbir.gov/news/2015-tibbetts-and-sbir-hall-fame-award-nominations
Nominations are due by 11:59 PM EDT on Friday, April 10, 2015.
The Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship has just had a change to its Ranking Member. The torch has been passed (at least for the near future) from Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) to Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).
Cardin moves over from the Small Business Committee to become ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, replacing Senator Robert Menendez who had to step down from that position due to legal troubles (gosh, and he isn't even a small SBIR business..). Cardin will remain on the Small Business Committee.
Both Cardin and Shaheen have been long time SBIR supporters. Meanwhile the leadership role in the Small Business Committee remains unchanged with Senator David Vitter (R-LA) continuing as chair. He is also a long time SBIR supporter.
On April 2, 2015 the Small Business Technology Council (SBTC) sent a letter to the Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, requesting that DOE implement the Phase III requirements of the SBA's SBIR/STTR Policy Directives.
In their letter to Dr. Moniz, SBTC Executive Director Jere Glover stated: "Contrary to Congressional legislation and the SBA policy directive, it appears that there is no established Phase III implementation policy within DOE, or with their prime contractor laboratories utilizing DOE SBIR/STTR technologies through Phase III procurements."
In this three page letter the SBTC describes examples of instances where it is apparent that DOE Offices and their National Laboratories were unaware of any DOE Phase III policies mandating award preference to the associated small businesses.
The full text of the letter is available on the SBTC web site a sbtc.org
The 2015 Spring National SBIR Conference is set for June 15 -17, 2015 in Washington, DC. The detailed agenda is nearing its final stages while the preliminary agenda is posted on the conference web site.
The National SBIR conference offers the best opportunity for you to meet and hear from all the SBIR program managers from the eleven agencies. It also offers you superb training, both in the general sessions and optional ½ day workshops.
This is also your chance to meet "one-on-one" with SBIR program managers! Collocated with the exciting 17th annual TechConnect World Conference, and National Innovation Summit, you have the chance to network with many important technology participants from government to industry to academia.
Details and registration information is available from the web site at http://nationalinnovationsummit.com/program/National_SBIR_Conference.html
The SBA has been busy at work designing the next generation web site to replace the current SBIR.GOV site.
SBA has received quite a bit of input from the user community, many of whom have been frustrated with the complexities of the site. Your comments have not been ignored and SBA and its contractor are making quite an effort to improve not only the look and feel, but the quality and usefulness of its databases.
We should see the results in the not-too-distant future.
Over the years the SBTC has employed award programs to continue support and recognition for the SBIR and STTR programs. In fact, during the period the SBA could not do the Tibbetts Awards, SBTC stepped in and continued the program with support from Roland Tibbetts and the various SBIR agencies.
Although the SBA is now back doing the Tibbetts Awards, SBTC still carries on important award programs such as SBIR Pioneer Award, the Milt Stewart Awards, and lifetime SBIR Achievement Awards.
This year the SBTC is asking phase II award winners to help in nominating individuals working in government who have made unique and extraordinary contributions to small businesses through the SBIR/STTR Phase III Award program.
I can't tell you how many times a small business has told me that if it wasn't for "so-and-so" our phase III would never have been possible. SBTC is looking for these unsung heroes of SBIR success.
Individuals who are eligible for
Details are not yet up on SBTC's web site, but will be soon. You'll find it at sbtc.org.
It's another one of those 3:30am closings and I'm ready close down. I'll try and keep this publication going as long as many of you still find something of value here.
I try to answer as many of you as I can, but with so many subscribers (god knows why or maybe he doesn't know) I try to answer as many of you as I can. But I appreciate receiving your comments (both good and bad).
This and back Issues of the SBIR Insider are available at www.zyn.com/sbir/insider
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