2007-03-07

Missile Defense (was Star Wars) and the SBIR Program

Little transparency seems to be an elusive quarry at the MDA, according to this commentary by Carl Nelson. There appears to be, or to have been, major resistance to complying with SBIR rules for small business R in support of the program. Apparently Mr. Nelson speaks with some credibility on the matter. According to his web site, he "decided 10,000 SBIR proposals from 3500 companies and gave $300M to 700 companies" when he worked there. Perhaps more disturbingly, he reports inside information that:

"Rumor has it that BMDO has decided to ditch its 15-year SBIR success story and adopt the military model. That means that commercial potential will get lip service. If they like your engineering, any commercial fantasy will suffice. If they don't like your engineering, no great commercial story will save you. Look for opaque management, vague debriefings, and schedules that serve the bureau. The premium for proposers will be on schmoozing the internal BMDO people who are seizing the reins. Look for repeated and even sequential contracts to favored contractors who have learned to play ball with the internal people. Don't look for any announcements."

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