Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

USSOCOM is an active participant in the Federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program mandated by the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 and re-authorized under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (P.L. 112-81 31, Section 5001-5168, December 2011). The objectives of the SBIR program are to stimulate technology innovation, use small business to meet federal research and development (R&D) needs, foster and encourage participation by minorities and disadvantaged groups, and increase private sector commercialization innovations derived from federal R&D. To be eligible for participation in the SBIR program, a business must meet the following criteria: be American-owned and independently operated, be for-profit, have the principal researcher employed by the business, and be limited to 500 employees.

The USSOCOM SBIR program supports the full spectrum of the SOF AT&L Science & Technology commodity areas by stimulating technology innovation in small businesses through contract awards aimed at discovering, developing, and rapidly inserting new capabilities to solve Special Operation Forces' needs.

Understanding the USSOCOM SBIR solicitation process is beneficial when competing for SBIR contracts. Annually, the USSOCOM community submits topics for technology products needed by Special Operations Forces. Topics differ from year to year. USSOCOM topics are submitted to DoD to be included in their solicitation. While DoD may issue several SBIR solicitations within a fiscal year, USSOCOM generally participates only in the first which is published in FEDBIZOPPS about mid-November. As part of this solicitation, DoD publishes instructions for submitting SBIR proposals, including USSOCOM's specific instructions.

The proposals submitted in response to the SBIR solicitation are for a SBIR Phase I. The expected result is a thorough feasibility study and, in some cases, a breadboard; i.e., a technical readiness level (TRL) of 3 or 4. From all the proposals submitted for a given topic, generally the three best are chosen for contract award. Each firm that was awarded and completed a SBIR Phase I contract may submit a proposal for a SBIR Phase II contract. The expected result is a prototype having a TRL from 5 to 7. The SBIR Phase II proposals are evaluated against a given set of factors, not judged against each other. The number of contracts awarded for a SBIR Phase II depends on available USSOCOM resources and current needs. Generally only one SBIR Phase II follow on contract is awarded by USSOCOM. However, a firm's SBIR Phase I information is retained in a Small Business Administration data base which may be researched by the other 12 DoD SBIR components and the other 10 Federal SBIR agencies, any of which may choose to award a follow-on SBIR Phase II. Additionally a SBIR Phase I does not have to go to SBIR Phase II to proceed toward further development and commercialization.

For more information on the USSOCOM SBIR program, the USSOCOM SBIR Program Manager may be reached via e-mail at