Army News

New Army contracting center streamlines and expedites funding for small businesses

Published: 08/06/2021

The U.S. Army established a first-of-its-kind Center of Excellence with the plan to streamline the contract execution across the entirety of the Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program—making it easier and faster for U.S. companies to work with the Army.

The newly created Army SBIR Contracting Center of Excellence, managed under the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology’s (ASA(ALT)) Army Applied SBIR Program Office, will now award, administer and closeout all Army Applied SBIR Phase I and Phase II contracting resources, which represent 80 percent of the Army SBIR portfolio, under one centralized office—a shift from the historic model of contracts dispersed and executed at contracting offices across the Army enterprise.

“The Army SBIR Contracting Center of Excellence is a first for the Army and will instill a tremendous amount of agility and innovation into the Army SBIR Program and how the Army works dynamically and responsively with small-business innovators,” said Dr. Matthew Willis, Director, Army Prize Competitions and Army Applied SBIR Program, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology (DASA (R&T)). “This streamlined approach to the contracting process will not only help us rapidly respond to urgent Army priorities across our labs and acquisition offices, but also better meet our small business needs to receive funding and begin work with the Army much faster.”

The new CoE will reduce contract execution by up to 75 percent compared to the previous timeline. This rapid response supports the Army Applied SBIR Program’s approach to releasing contract opportunities on a rolling basis, which enables Army programs to seek timely, innovative solutions for their most critical modernization priorities. Army Applied SBIR Phase I awards are nearly $260,000 and six months in duration, and Phase IIs are up to $1.7 million and 18 months in duration. Centralizing these SBIR contracts under one umbrella will increase the flexibility and timeliness to address emerging Army needs while minimizing the time to contract with businesses.

The new office will also provide a unique training proving ground for future Army contracting officers to gain experience with Army SBIR contracts before moving on to more complex awards throughout the enterprise.

“We’re trying to bring innovation back to the SBIR Program,” said Willis, who has led the Army Applied SBIR Program for nearly two years. “We want to be expeditious in our approach, and this new center is a tremendous step forward in helping us fulfill our goal to modernize our world-class military and transition life-saving technology into the hands of our Soldiers.”

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics & Technology) provides the American Soldier with a decisive advantage in any mission by developing, acquiring, fielding, and sustaining the world’s finest equipment and services; and by leveraging technologies and capabilities to meet current and future Army needs.

New Army contracting center streamlines and expedites funding for small businesses

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