SBIR Gateway

SBIR Insider Newsletter
SBIR Reauthorization

November 5, 2008 Edition

Dear SBIR Gateway Insider,

We made it through the most historic election of our time. Congratulations to Obama and his supporters, as well as McCain and his supporters. Both the victory and concession speeches were stellar, but time will tell if we selected candidates throughout our country that will give us a more functional government, as well as improved chances for a responsible SBIR/STTR reauthorization bill.

Although we have a few political SBIR scenarios to share with you, there are some important time sensitive SBIR items first.

In this issue:

Homeland Security Issues FY-09.1 SBIR - Limited Time To Contact TPOCS

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) has issued a prerelease of their Fy2009.1 SBIR solicitation which opens November 12, 2008 and closes January 5, 2009.

The DHS prerelease contains 7 technical topics, and is similar in nature to the DoD whereby small businesses can directly contact the topic's Technical Point of Contact (TPOC) to ask pertinent questions about the specific topic. After the solicitation officially opens on November 12, 2009, you can no longer contact the TPOC.

Smart SBIR companies often take advantage of this prerelease TPOC discussion opportunity. Time is short and you can't expect TPOCS to respond at the last minute, so formulate your targeted questions and call them soon. Please read the solicitation which suggests what kind of questions are appropriate.

The solicitation is available on FedBisOpps at

It is also available on the DHS S&T SBIR web site at

Many SBIR Agencies To Release And/Or Open Solicitations November 12, 2008

In addition to DHS, the DoD will issue its prerelease of their FY-09.1 SBIR which traditionally is a large solicitation including Air Force, Army, Navy, OSD, CBD, DTRA and SOCOM. You can have contact with the TPOCS during the presolicitation phase from November 12, 2008 through December 7, 2008 when the solicitation officially opens. The closing date is January 14, 2009.

NIST will be releasing their traditional SBIR solicitation on or about November 12 with a closing date of January 22, 2009. There has been no mention of NIST's SBIR-TT release, that incorporates commercialization efforts of NIST technologies. The NIST solicitation can be found at

Currently open solicitations include DOE, NOAA, NSF, NIH, and ED/NIDRR. Additional information is available on our SBIR Gateway News Page at

Oklahoma Companies Try To Educate Senator Coburn To Gain SBIR Support

In our last issue we included two stories about Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and his opposition to SBIR reauthorization. Coburn's resistance to SBIR (referring to it as a wasteful SBA earmark) demonstrates his lack of understanding about the SBIR program. It would be an understatement to say that Coburn "hates" the SBA, and almost anything SBA touches. This view is shared by his staffers and little headway has been made towards getting him to soften his view.

Several Oklahoma companies stood up for SBIR and tried to engage Corburn (and staffers) in a useful dialog to get Coburn to understand that SBIR is not an SBA earmark. There has been little movement so far but the Oklahomans will keep trying.

Election Results Raises Questions About SBIR & Small Business Program Support

Most of the election attention has been on the presidential race, but SBIR reauthorization will be affected more by the Congressional elections. The election results will bring about many changes in both House and Senate.

Disclaimer to my new readers: I hold both parties in equal contempt, so if I say something nice about the "other guys" it's not meant to be at "your guys" expense. That said, here's the news and comment.

SBIR Related Legend: (-) Negative; (+) Positive; (~) Ehh.....

  1. (-) Very likely that Senator John Kerry (D-MA), chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship (SBE) will "move on" (pardon the expression) to a more prominent committee chair position or perhaps a cabinet position (there's currently some talk of Secretary of State). The loss of Kerry on the SBE, and on SBIR issues cannot be measured. In my opinion, no one in Congress understood SBIR, the needs of small businesses and the agencies, better than Kerry. His support for his staffers in the trenches was excellent (as are his staffers), but he was always his own person on evaluating the information staffers provided. He also worked well and closely with his ranking member, Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

  2. (-) Due to substantial losses suffered by the republicans, SBE ranking member Olympia Snowe may be offered ranking member status of a more prominent committee. Snowe was a good and capable leader when she chaired the SBE, and she (and her staff) had good understanding and support for the needs of SBIR. Snowe and Kerry worked well together regardless of who was in power at the time.

  3. (+) After an unexpected major challenge, Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) prevailed in his bid for reelection. Murtha has been a strong supporter of SBIR programs and worked hard to assure funding for advanced SBIR projects in the DoD.

  4. (+) Congressman Donald Manzullo (R-IL) was reelected. Manzullo was formerly chair of the House Small Business Committee (SBC) and a great SBIR champion. His direct involvement in the SBC is missed, but he still will stand up for what he thinks is proper, even if it goes against his party.

  5. (+) Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) prevailed in a hard fought reelection campaign. Landrieu currently sits on the SBE committee and demonstrated her deep knowledge of the SBA and SBIR in her small business bill earlier this year. It is possible that she could be in the running for SBE committee chair in the next congress.

  6. (-) Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) has been overwhelmingly reelected (89% to 11%) to the House and she will most likely remain chair of the House SBC. In the past Ms. Velazquez has shown strong support to allow large entities to have majority ownership of small business and be eligible to compete for small business set aside, government contracts (including SBIR).

  7. (~) Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) lost his bid for reelection. Chabot was the SBC's ranking member and although not as "stout" as Velazquez in support for large entities owning small business, he didn't seem to show much support for his members that opposed the large entity infusion in small business contracting.

  8. (~) Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) was defeated. Ms. Dole was on the SBE committee but was seldom an "informed" resource on SBIR, in spite of the fact that her state has very good SBIR support and results. Dole was often rated as one of the least effective senators, so it should be a plus to have a knowledgeable and active replacement on the committee.

  9. (~) Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN), member of the SBE, is claiming victory but that claim is being challenged by former Saturday Night Live icon, Al Franken. With a point spread of 477 votes out of 2,422,811, Coleman is chastising Franken for not refusing an automatic recount. Coleman has been a "mixed bag" in the SBE, but I've talked with several SBIR companies in MN who are non-partisan and stated a preference for Coleman over Franken.

  10. (+) Other important SBIR supporters reelected include: Senate: Levin (D-MI); House: Bartlett (R-MD), Ehlers (R-MI), Gingrey (R-GA), Markey (D-MA), Tsongas (D-MA), Skelton (D-MO), Welch (D-VT). My apologies to those I missed.

SBIR Reauthorization Pontification

It is highly unlikely that any substantive SBIR reauthorization work will be done in the lame duck session. There is a great deal of more important work for the 110th to accomplish before they go home. Many insiders believe (in the next congress) there will be another continuing resolution (CR) to pick up the one that expires on March 20, 2009. Obtaining SBIR reauthorization or a new CR becomes more difficult without John Kerry at the head of the SBE. Does this mean Kerry may try to pull a rabbit out of the hat prior to adjournment? We'll keep you informed.

We'll be at the Fall National SBIR National Conference, November 12-14, 2008 in Hartford, CT. I hope to see many of you there.



Rick Shindell
SBIR Gateway
Zyn Systems
40 Alderwood Dr.
Sequim, WA 98382
[email protected]

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