What GAO Located
In June 2018, Air Power implemented a new “open topics” approach for issuing Small Company Innovation Investigate (SBIR) and Small Business Engineering Transfer (STTR) awards to draw in new small organizations and deliver technological innovation options quicker to the Air Power. The new process presents organizations far more latitude to suggest technologies methods to meet up with Air Force’s wants. Expansion of the new method coincided with an all round enhance in Air Force’s SBIR/STTR exertion. By the conclude of fiscal year 2020, the new procedure experienced mainly displaced the agency’s standard awards approach, in which precise complications and mission wants have been determined by Air Pressure (see figure).
Number of SBIR or STTR Awards, Dollars Awarded, and Selection of Providers that Received Awards under Air Force’s Open Topics or Typical SBIR/STTR Awards System, Fiscal Years 2018 through 2020
*Businesses that acquired both of those open up subject areas and conventional awards in fiscal many years 2018 as a result of 2020 are provided more than once in the bar graph displaying the variety of corporations.
Air Force’s new course of action was a lot more helpful than its conventional SBIR/STTR awards method in attracting new corporations and issuing awards swiftly. According to GAO’s analysis of Air Drive SBIR/STTR award information and federal contracting info, about 43 percent of the 1,001 open subject areas awardees experienced no prior federal contracts, in comparison to 14 p.c of the 771 common awardees. Also, Air Drive took amongst 108 and 126 less days, on normal, to problem open topics awards in fiscal several years 2019 and 2020 for the very first SBIR/STTR software section. An April 2021 analyze observed that open topics awardees ended up much more most likely to obtain subsequent enterprise capital or non-SBIR/STTR contracts.
Data and assessment gaps, nonetheless, restrict Air Force’s capacity to consider the effectiveness of the new system. Its 2021 impact report did not address irrespective of whether participation amongst women-owned tiny organizations elevated, as known as for in the committee report. Also, Air Drive did not ensure the report’s information on participation by deprived organizations and corporation size was recent and responsible. Guaranteeing information in these types of reviews are present-day and trusted would support Air Force in assessing the get to and success of the open topics procedure.
Why GAO Did This Review
Air Pressure is amongst the biggest federal funders of SBIR and STTR awards to modest enterprises. It issued around 4,800 these types of awards in fiscal years 2016 by 2020 to support companies’ technologies commercialization and deliver technology methods to meet Air Force’s requirements. Considering the fact that 2018, Air Force has promptly expanded the new open topics SBIR/STTR awards procedure.
The Household committee report accompanying the Countrywide Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Yr 2021 contains provisions for GAO to review the new procedure. This report examines (1) how Air Pressure applied its new awards system and (2) what is identified about the process’s effectiveness—as compared to Air Force’s standard SBIR/STTR awards process—in attracting a broad variety of organizations cutting down award issuance situations and enabling commercialization by subsequent undertaking capital investment or non-SBIR/STTR federal contracts.
GAO analyzed Air Force SBIR and STTR award facts from fiscal a long time 2016 as a result of 2020 and paperwork, including evaluations of the new system. GAO also analyzed agreement information for a non-generalizable sample of 17 awards, and interviewed Air Drive and DOD officers and awardees.