President Trump signed the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law, and there are a lot of positive provisions for small business and changes to the SBIR/STTR programs included in it. On the whole, the changes proposed by this bill will make it much easier for SBIR/STTR Firms to pursue and win Phase III follow-on money to further develop their SBIR/STTR Phase I & II technologies. The SBTC strongly supports these provisions and we are greatful to the hard work of the staffers in the House & Senate Small Business and Armed Services Committees for making sure that SBIR/STTR were included in this bill.
Below is a brief summary of the provisions in the NDAA related to SBIR and STTR.
Summary of SBIR/STTR related provisions
Sec. 864 OTHER TRANSACTION AUTHORITY FOR CERTAIN PROTOTYPE PROJECTS.
The DOD has a program that gives Department Secretaries and the Secretary of Defense authority to quickly carry out rapid prototyping projects (10 USC §2371b). THe NDAA doubles the amount allowed to be spent on a prototype project to between $100M and $500M. Congress also and specifically made it clear in the law that SBIR firms should be considered eligible to receive awards under this program.
Having SBIR firms specifically mentioned in the law as one of the types of businesses allowed to participate is a big deal, as it adds yet another vehicle for follow-on funding for SBIR firms looking to develop or transition their technology by building prototypes.
Sec. 1708 INCLUSION OF SBIR AND STTR PROGRAMS IN TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
This section adds SBIR/STTR firms to the list of entities that are eligible to receive procurement technical assistance from the DOD.
Sec. 1709 REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO COMPETITIVE PROCEDURES AND JUSTIFICATION FOR AWARDS UNDER THE SBIR AND STTR PROGRAMS
This provision modifies 15 USC 638(r)(4) to clarify that awards under the SBIR/STTR programs satisfy all federal competition requirements, and therefore Phase III awards should be awarded to the firm that received the SBIR/STTR award, without further justification.
This provision is designed to remove a speedbump to the Phase III awarding by clearly stating that contracting officials and offices are not required to recompete or justify why they didn’t recomplete a Phase III award if it is given to the company that developed the technology. The hope is to make it that much easier and more convenient for agencies and contracting officials to issue Phase III awards.
Sec 1710 PILOT PROGRAM FOR STREAMLINED TECHNOLOGY TRANSITION FROM THE SBIR AND STTR PROGRAMS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
This is a new pilot program that would allow the the Secretary of Defense to establish a pilot program under which the Department shall award multiple award contracts to covered small business concerns for the purchase of technologies, supplies, or services that the covered smal business concern has developed through the SBIR or STTR
SEC. 1714. REPORT ON UTILIZATION OF SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS FOR FEDERAL CONTRACTS.
Congress Requires a report within 180 days from SBA determining whether small business concerns are being utilized in a significant way with regards to multiple award contracts.