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An Assessment of the SBIR Program at the Department of Defense
FIGURE 6-1 SBIR timeline at DoD.
SOURCE: Michael Caccuitto, DoD SBIR/STTR Program Administrator and Carol Van Wyk, DoD CPP Coordinator. Presentation to SBTC SBIR in Rapid Transition Conference, Washington, DC, September 27, 2006.
The latter must therefore be assessed primarily through interviews, focused on current practice, with awardees, agency staff, and other stakeholders.2
Finally, it is worth noting that DoD processes are quite complex—unsurprising, given the high volume of proposals and awards, and the wide variety of Service and Agency objectives. However, it is possible to provide an overview of core activities, as seen in Figure 6-1. Each phase of the SBIR program will be reviewed in turn. Figure 6-1 shows the significant pre-solicitation activities focused around topic development, some of the funding initiatives in place (Fast Track and Phase II Enhancements), and the potential role of Phase III which, as we shall see, should be part of very early activities within the SBIR framework.
The continuing, at times incremental nature of these changes set against the longer term, often circuitous processes of firm growth and commercialization of SBIR awards complicates efforts to relate program management techniques to performance outcomes. Thus, results measured for awards that occurred ten years ago may not adequately describe how well a service or agency is managing in its SBIR program today.