Updated February 13, 2003
Senator Urges DoD to Accept SBIR Proposals that were Rejected Due to System Bottlenecks - 02/13/03
Senator Carl Levin, (D) Michigan, and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services committee, called on the DoD to accept SBIR proposals from those who were unable to submit due to server overload.
As a result of the DoD rejections, several companies have filed bid protests with the Government Accounting Office (GAO) which have in effect, stopped this SBIR solicitation process until a ruling is rendered in these cases.
The DoD expressed confidence in prevailing in these protests and have assigned counsel from the Air Force to represent the DoD. Senator Levin, in a February 3rd letter to Mike Wynne, Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, asked the DoD to consider the fairness of excluding the proposals that could not be submitted due to bottlenecks in the DoD's server. He also called on the DoD to take "appropriate action" to address what appears to be a continual problem in their SBIR program. The Senator also expressed that the SBIR program is too important to our nation's small businesses and national security to permit recurrence of these types of problems. Levin also asked Wynne to inform him about the steps being taken to address what Levin called, "a systemic problem."
Senator Levin's letter is available as a 200k PDF (Acrobat) file at zyn.com/sbir/levin-sasc.pdf
DoD Asks GAO to Dismiss Bid Protest - 02/13/03
The Air Force, on behalf of the DoD's Office of the Secretary of Defense, petitioned the GAO to dismiss at least one of the bid protests filed against the DoD in regards to rejected proposal submissions. The DoD's claim of late filing of the protest, was turned down by the GAO.
Other News - 02/13/03
The DoD's decision to not accept proposals that were unable to be submitted on January 15, 2003, has not gone unnoticed by other federal entities. The SBA, tasked with offering policy guidance to the SBIR program, is monitoring the situation. Although it is not known what action the SBA is currently taking, the SBA has a history of championing the fair causes of small businesses. In creating the latest SBIR Policy Directive, the SBA worked closely with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Senate Small Business committee. It is possible that these organizations may be working together toward an equitable solution.
Five Point Analysis Offered - 02/10/03
Rick Shindell, of the SBIR Gateway, was requested to provide an analysis of the problem that occurred when many companies were unable to submit their proposals on the DoD due date of January 15, 2003. The analysis is written from the "outside in" by someone who has provided technical support and web services since the beginning of the World Wide Web.
SBIR Advocates Mobilize to Support Small Businesses Shut Out by DoD - 02/01/03
The Small Business Technology Coalition (SBTC) announced on Friday January 31, 2003 their intention to file an Amicus Brief with the General Accounting Office (GAO) in support of the bid protests that have been filed with GAO against the DoD SBIR, more notably, the Office of the Secretary of Defense. As of Friday there are 4 companies who have filed bid protests against the DoD concerning the failure of the DoD submission web site to handle the upload transactions within the official deadline of January 15, 2003 at 5:00pm est.
SBTC Executive Director Jere Glover sent a strongly worded letter of protest to Ivory Fisher at the DoD SBIR/STTR Program Office. That letter along with other news of SBTC actions is available on their web site at: www.sbtc.org/
Ann Eskesen, long time SBIR advocate, speaker and motivator extraordinaire, has also spoken out against the DoD decision. In addition to talking with her many contacts in the congressional arena, Ann has set her company's (Innovation Development Institute) web site in motion to perform a survey of those who tried to submit their proposals to DoD. This survey and other important SBIR information can be found on the Innovation web site at: www.inknowvation.com/
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