Small Trade Analysis Systems: Air Power Had Good fortune in Some Spaces with New Awards Procedure

What GAO Discovered

In June 2018, Air Power applied a brand new “open subjects” procedure for issuing Small Trade Innovation Analysis (SBIR) and Small Trade Era Switch (STTR) awards to draw new small companies and ship generation answers quicker to the Air Power. The brand new procedure offers corporations extra latitude to suggest generation answers to satisfy Air Power’s wishes. Growth of the brand new procedure coincided with an general building up in Air Power’s SBIR/STTR effort. By means of the tip of fiscal yr 2020, the brand new procedure had in large part displaced the company’s standard awards procedure, during which particular issues and project wishes have been recognized by way of Air Power (see determine).

Selection of SBIR or STTR Awards, Greenbacks Awarded, and Selection of Corporations that Won Awards underneath Air Power’s Open Subjects or Typical SBIR/STTR Awards Procedure, Fiscal Years 2018 via 2020

Small Trade Analysis Systems: Air Power Had Good fortune in Some Spaces with New Awards Procedure

*Corporations that gained each open subjects and traditional awards in fiscal years 2018 via 2020 are integrated greater than as soon as within the bar graph appearing the collection of corporations.

Air Power’s new procedure used to be more practical than its standard SBIR/STTR awards procedure in attracting new corporations and issuing awards temporarily. Consistent with GAO’s research of Air Power SBIR/STTR award information and federal contracting information, round 43 p.c of the 1,001 open subjects awardees had no prior federal contracts, in comparison to 14 p.c of the 771 standard awardees. Additionally, Air Power took between 108 and 126 fewer days, on moderate, to factor open subjects awards in fiscal years 2019 and 2020 for the primary SBIR/STTR program section. An April 2021 find out about discovered that open subjects awardees have been much more likely to procure next project capital or non-SBIR/STTR contracts.

Knowledge and review gaps, alternatively, prohibit Air Power’s talent to guage the effectiveness of the brand new procedure. Its 2021 affect record didn’t cope with whether or not participation amongst women-owned small companies larger, as known as for within the committee record. Additionally, Air Power didn’t be sure the record’s information on participation by way of deprived companies and corporate dimension used to be present and dependable. Making sure information in such studies are present and dependable would support Air Power in assessing the succeed in and effectiveness of the open subjects procedure.

Why GAO Did This Learn about

Air Power is without doubt one of the greatest federal funders of SBIR and STTR awards to small companies. It issued over 4,800 such awards in fiscal years 2016 via 2020 to make stronger corporations’ generation commercialization and supply generation answers to satisfy Air Power’s wishes. Since 2018, Air Power has all of a sudden expanded the brand new open subjects SBIR/STTR awards procedure.

The Space committee record accompanying the Nationwide Protection Authorization Act for Fiscal 12 months 2021 contains provisions for GAO to study the brand new procedure. This record examines (1) how Air Power applied its new awards procedure and (2) what is understood concerning the procedure’s effectiveness—as in comparison to Air Power’s standard SBIR/STTR awards procedure—in attracting a huge vary of businesses; decreasing award issuance occasions; and enabling commercialization via next project capital funding or non-SBIR/STTR federal contracts.

GAO analyzed Air Power SBIR and STTR award information from fiscal years 2016 via 2020 and paperwork, together with opinions of the brand new procedure. GAO additionally analyzed contract information for a non-generalizable pattern of 17 awards, and interviewed Air Power and DOD officers and awardees.