The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) is responsible for policy development, planning, resource management and program evaluation. The OSD includes the offices of top civilian defense decision-makers with regard to personnel, weapons acquisition, research, intelligence and fiscal policy, as well as offices the Secretary establishes to assist in carrying out assigned responsibilities.
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program was established in 1982 to strengthen the role of innovative SBCs in Federally-funded research or research and development (R/R&D). Specific program purposes are to: (1) stimulate technological innovation; (2) use small business to meet Federal R/R&D needs; (3) foster and encourage participation by socially and economically disadvantaged SBCs (SDBs), and by women-owned SBCs (WOSBs), in technological innovation; and, (4) increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal R/R&D, thereby increasing competition, productivity and economic growth.
Established in 1992, the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program expands public/private sector partnerships and stimulates ideas and technologies between innovative SBCs and non-profit Research Institutions. By providing awards to SBCs for cooperative R/R&D efforts through formal collaborations with Research Institutions, the STTR program assists the U.S. small business and research communities by supporting the commercialization of innovative technologies. STTR’s most important role is to bridge the gap between basic R&D and commercialization of resulting innovations.
The SBIR and STTR Programs are the nation's largest source of early-stage technology financing, and are funded at more than $4 billion annually. The Department of Defense (DoD) accounts for more than half of the federal government's total SBIR/STTR program. 15 USC 638 Sections 9(j) and 9(p) of the Small Business Act – require that the Small Business Administration (SBA) issue Policy Directives for the general conduct of the SBIR and STTR programs within the Federal Government. However, each Federal agency independently manages its SBIR and STTR programs independently in accordance with SBA policy, and has the flexibility to tailor its program to meet the needs of the individual agency.
The SBIR and STTR programs are funded through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The federal budget process occurs in two stages: appropriations and authorizations. The NDAA is an authorization bill, which directs how federal funds should or should not be used. NDAAs often include direction and requirements that supplement the provisions set forth in the Small Business Act that impact the SBIR and STTR programs in the areas of contracting, reporting, and other provisions. These programs have a combined budget nearly $1.8B.