acquisition strategy, such as unbundling. Mr. Karangelen responded that small business was a natural ally of what might be considered an open system, because such a system could easily be partitioned, or unbundled. The large prime contractors have created monolithic systems that are not open, he said. An open system would be one in which a small firm could build a part of the system and integrate it without the prime’s involvement. He said he was a strong advocate of open systems, being in the combat system business, “but it’s a real struggle.”
James Rudd of the National Science Foundation said that NSF was involved in commercialization, but mainly with the private sector rather than with the DoD. He noticed that large corporations used systems to effectively involve small businesses and whether those techniques might be applied by DoD. He cited Proctor & Gamble as a large firm that hired certain companies, such as Nine Sigma and InnoCentive, to help them identify the best SBIR company to provide a particular service. He asked whether such companies might be helpful in the DoD space.
Mr. Pap said that he received several SBIR awards from NSF and had worked with search companies. The difference for DoD is that the agency wants to be able to use the technology it funds for its own purposes, and often there was no equivalent user elsewhere. Dr. Gansler added that a goal of the SBIR program is to sell a technology to DoD or NSF, and also to sell it in the commercial world. DoD then benefits from the lower costs and more rapid innovation stimulated by the marketplace. There are barriers, however, that prevent the most effective combination of civil and military technologies, and he urged the participants to address these.