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Small Business Innovation Research: DOD's Program Supports Weapon Systems, but Lacks Comprehensive Data on Technology Transition Outcomes

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Congressional rept.

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To compete in the global economy, the United States relies heavily on innovation through research and development. The Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 initiated SBIR programs across federal agencies in an effort to stimulate innovation through small businesses. DoD spends over 1 billion annually to support SBIR awards. The Conference Report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 mandated that GAO assess the transition of technologies developed through the DoD SBIR program. This report examines the following 1 practices the military department SBIR programs use to facilitate the transition of SBIR technologies and 2 the extent to which SBIR technologies are transitioning to DoD users, including major weapon system acquisition programs. GAO reviewed SBIR program documentation and data. GAO also interviewed officials from DoDs Office of Small Business Programs and the military departments to determine the practices used to facilitate technology transition and assess SBIR transition outcome data. GAO recommends that DoD establish a common definition of technology transition for SBIR projects, develop a plan to track transition that will improve the completeness, quality, and reliability of transition data, and report to Congress its plan for meeting new SBIR technology transition reporting requirements. DoD partially concurred with these recommendations, but cited challenges to improving transition data. GAO believes that options are available to address the challenges.

Subject Categories:

  • Information Science
  • Computer Programming and Software
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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