DARPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), and Small Business Programs reflect the Agency’s compliance with the small business program goals set by DoD’s Office of Small Business Programs. DoD OSBP is the policy office that advises the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and Under Secretary of Defense (USD) for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics (AT&L) on small business acquisition programs. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) maintains Federal government-wide oversight of all small business procurement.
DARPA’s small business program consists of two parts— (1) small business prime contracting and (2) prime contractors' subcontracting with small business concerns.
DARPA’s acquisition strategies are structured to facilitate small business participation, either directly or indirectly, by fostering small business teaming. Under FAR 9.602, a team arrangement occurs when two or more small businesses form a partnership to compete on a consolidated contract or a potential prime contractor agrees with one or more firms to have them act as subcontractors if the team is awarded a contract. An advantage of teaming is that small business teams can maximize complementary skills, resources and capabilities to exceed those of any single contractor on the team and minimize their risks.
DARPA uses two solicitation methods: (1) Broad Agency Announcements and (2) Requests for Proposal (RFPs). Most of DARPA’s solicitations are for research and development and are accomplished through the more flexible BAAs. BAAs are a streamlined method used to advertise and solicit contractors for DARPA research interests in certain program areas. See FAR 6.102 and 35.016 and the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984.
Although infrequently used, a secondary solicitation method for FAR-based procurement contracts is the RFP. RFPs are a formal competitive means of soliciting proposals in response to government requirements for supplies and services in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold.