In order to provide solutions to the warfighter more rapidly, the Department of Defense, or DoD, releases three recurring Joint DoD Broad Agency Announcements, also referred to as BAAs, or Commercial Solutions Openings, also referred to as CSOs, each year for both SBIR and STTR programs. DoD also releases out-of-cycle BAAs or CSOs as needed on behalf of the DoD Services and Components.
DoD recurring BAAs and CSOs are numbered using two digits to indicate the fiscal year followed by .1, .2 or .3 to indicate the order in which the three releases are made throughout the fiscal year. For example, 21.1 indicates that this was the first SBIR BAA/CSO in fiscal year 2021. STTR BAAs and CSOs use a letter instead of a number after the fiscal year designation – so 21.A is the first STTR BAA during fiscal year 2021. SBIR and STTR BAAs and CSOs are released at the same time in separate documents. The Federal government fiscal year begins October 1st – so the first BAA and CSO for the fiscal year occurs towards the end of the calendar year. This Figure shows the general time period in which the three recurring SBIR and STTR BAAs/CSOs are released. Component BAAs and CSOs use the next numeric or alphabetic designation to identify the announcement.
DoD is the largest Federal SBIR/STTR participant and is comprised of 14 diverse components with unique missions, and a combined annual budget of approximately $1.8B. DoD publishes general instructions with applicable requirements for all of DoD, as well as separate instructions that address unique component-specific requirements. It is critical for small businesses to thoroughly read the general DoD instructions document as well as thoroughly read the component-specific instructions for each topic of interest. Each component determines when it will participate in one of the recurring BAAs or issue a component- specific BAA.
DoD SBIR/STTR BAAs and CSOs are published at two sites. The Defense SBIR/STTR Innovation Portal or DSIP is the official portal for DoD SBIR/STTR Topic Search, Topic Q&A and electronic proposal submission. Proposals submitted by any other means will be disregarded. Firms submitting through this site for the first time will be asked to register in DSIP. To be notified of DoD SBIR/STTR opportunities and other important program updates, small businesses are encouraged to subscribe to the Listserv.
The DoD instructions document also contains a section called Contractual Requirements. These requirements are important to review. Of particular importance is the section entitled Technical Data Rights, commonly referred to as SBIR Data Rights. Another course included in this On-Line System provides guidance on this topic. [See Tutorial on SBIR Data Rights]
In this overview of the DoD Instructions document, what has been highlighted are some unique features of DoD that become apparent when reviewing the solicitation. Most of the concepts discussed will not affect your proposal preparation but provide insight into working with the Department of Defense. Be sure to visit the DoD SBIR/STTR program website numerous times during the year. This site contains many useful tools including the ability to search topics in open SBIR and STTR solicitations, links to the proposal submission site, and access to DSIP Topic Q&A.
All proposal submissions must be made through the Defense SBIR/STTR Innovation Portal or DSIP. You and your small business concern must register with DSIP if you wish to submit a proposal in response to any DoD Component topics. If you are new to the DoD SBIR/STTR Program and your firm has not yet been registered, you will register as a New User – or Small Business Concern. The first person registering for the Firm should have the DUNS number readily available before registering. You can follow the steps in the Registration and Login Help Video and Job Aid, which can be found in the Learning and Support portal.
Be sure to submit your proposals as early as possible in order to avoid unexpected delays due to high volume of traffic during the final hours before the BAA closes.
The Learning and Support section of DSIP provides several resources to help you navigate the DSIP while submitting your proposal. Please see the list of support materials that are available to you on DSIP.