H.R. 6368 encourages federal government research and development small business allocations, to encourage Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer participants to serve as mentors under the Small Business Administration’s mentor-protégé program, and to promote the use of interagency contracts.
The bill updates the definition of “research and development” in the Small Business Act under the SBIR and STTR programs to include the words “test” and “evaluation.” Linguistic changes occur throughout our society, including within the day to day operations of our government. While not initially associated with R&D, the terms “test” and “evaluation” are commonly utilized within the Department of Defense as core R&D functions. The bill simply updates the terms in the Small Business Act to coincide with the updated lexicon currently in use.
Additionally, the bill provides clarity in the use of government-side interagency acquisitions permitted through the FY 2009 National Defense Authorization Act by adding a definition of the term to be a type of interagency acquisition where a servicing agency performs acquisition activities on a requesting agency’s behalf, such as awarding and administering a contract, task order, or delivery order. Additionally, the bill expressly allows the General Services Administration (GSA) to assist agencies with contract award and vehicle creation for small business receiving a sole source or set-aside contracts in the SBIR and STTR programs. Historically, there have been lengthy delays in the programs at various stages, including award notification, payment, and advancement. The bill aims to reduce these delays by allowing the GSA to assist participating agencies in the SBIR and STTR contract creation and management.