Military Review

Challenging innovation


The participation of small businesses in the implementation of state defense orders

The US Department of Defense has two government programs for attracting small businesses to defense orders. SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) - “Small Innovative Business” and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) - “Technology Transfer by Small Business”. In January, 2012, US President Barack Obama reissued a law on the annual funding of SBIR and STTR programs of about $ 2,5 billion in six years. Using the SBIR and STTR programs, US federal agencies are helping small businesses conduct research and development to bring the best innovations to the market. The participation of a small business in these programs is divided into three phases: research, development, commercialization. For a further six years, this long-term law ensured the confidence and stability of US small businesses and the creation of new jobs. It is the results of rapid innovation implementations of small business under the SBIR and STTR programs that put the United States in the advanced countries of the world in the military field. Strengthen US competitiveness in the global market.


The SBIR and STTR programs are programs of the United States government that are coordinated by the government's Small Business Agency (SBA). It concentrates extrabudgetary funds with a volume of 2,5% of the total research budgets of all federal agencies, with a mobile opportunity to immediately send grants to small businesses. As a rule, according to annual reports, more than half of the funds are accounted for by firms with fewer than 25 people, and a third by firms with fewer than 10 people. 13% of the total number of companies - new, first received grants in different directions. 7% of enterprises belong to women.

State development of small businesses began in the US in 1982, with the adoption of an emergency law on attracting small businesses to federal research. According to the report of Rep. Sam Graves, chairman of the Small Business Chamber of the Congress that year, the law has three main objectives: stimulating technological innovation in the small business sector, satisfying research and development by the federal government, and commercializing federal investment funds. Now this law is periodically extended by the US Congress.

The SBIR program was created to support scientific excellence in technological innovation through federal research funds investing in national economy critical priorities for Americans. The SBIR program, according to its creator Roland Tibbetts, “is intended to provide funding for the best, most promising, innovative ideas at an early stage, but very risky for private investors with their venture capital.”

In the SBIR program, the term “small business” is defined as a non-profit business of companies owned by one or more persons who are citizens or are permanent residents of foreigners in the United States of America.

The SBIR program has established grants for three-phase promotion of the idea.

The first phase (start-up - the initial stage): grants are given up to 100 thousand dollars for research of technical merits, possibilities of an idea or technology. It is given for six months.

The second phase occurs only for those firms that have distinguished themselves and were understood from the results in the first phase of research. They are given a grant of up to 1 million for two years to continue the development of the idea based on the results of the first phase. Development work and an assessment by the developer of the potential for the commercialization of an idea are carried out. At the same time, there are no requirements - the presence of licenses, the availability of military acceptance, the quality system and accounting reports are not presented to the developments. The market will choose what he wants.

The third phase is for effort when innovation moves from laboratory to market. The SBIR program does not allocate any additional funds for this and does not. Small businesses must find financing in the private sector or other federal funding agencies. In 2010, under the SBIR 11 program, US federal ministries and departments, including the Department of Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Security, provided more than 2 billion in grants and small business innovation contracts, leading to commercialization. Only the US Department of Defense financed small businesses with 1 billion dollars through SBIR programs. After participating in SBIR, companies own their idea as intellectual property and have all the rights to commercialization.

The SBIR and STTR programs also participate in the Advanced Defense Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Missile Defense Agency.


A similar STTR program uses a similar approach to expanding public-private partnerships between small businesses and research institutions and US universities that are required to allocate 0,3% of their funds to finance small businesses.

Let us stop at the US Navy. In 1996, the Americans were concerned about the hidden breakthrough of the low-noise Russian submarine "Tiger" 971 project to the shores of America. On this occasion, a special commission of the US Department of Defense Heads Committee was set up, and almost immediately a US Navy SBIR hydroacoustic system modernization program (Acoustical Rapid COTS-Insertion) was accelerated by the implementation of civilian information technology. small business under the SBIR program. COTS technology is a cheap and convenient technological computer base with the use of open information technologies, flexibly restructuring its processing algorithms during operation. To date, the sonar complex of the newest US Virginia nuclear submarine of the Virginia project is COTS, a computer built into the submarine command and control system.

But back to the small business. American sailors rushed quickly to resolve the issue only with small business for the simple reason that there was a shortage of funds for quick modernization, and small business helped them out. Today it is known that in this way the Americans reduced the cost of upgrading their sonar detection tools eight times. And the effect of detecting low-noise boats increased 10 times. Today, the US Navy has begun to integrate all network communications into an integrated system following the example of the ARCI hydroacoustic program with the help of small business.

Now the US Armed Forces are covered by the modernization of their information tools on the principle of open reuse architectures to solve the problem of network-centric wars (NCW). Due to lower defense spending, the SBIR program again helps out. 54% of the defense order in the United States performs a small business.

And what do we have in Russia with a small business in the state defense order? And nothing. There are no programs like SBIR and STTR in the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. I tried to find something on the Internet on this topic. It was reported by ITAR-TASS from 31 in March of 2009 that the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Defense is considering the possibility of small business participation in the implementation of state defense orders. The agency quoted Elvira Nabiullina’s words (at the time, the Minister of Economic Development): “We are now working with the Ministry of Defense on how small businesses could participate in the implementation of the state defense order.” According to Nabiullina, "there are already specific proposals here." “Earlier, speaking at a meeting with representatives of OPORA Russia, the minister stressed that the participation of small businesses in the implementation of the state defense order does not mean participation in the procurement of weapons and equipment. According to her, we can talk about related goods - clothing, food, ”ITAR-TASS reported.

I realized that a small business in the state defense order of the Russian Federation is washing floors, washing soldier’s linen, cooking soups and porridges, serving army baths and sweeping a parade for a drill. But let's be serious.


In the USA, there are institutes of assistance to start-up small business entrepreneurs, especially in the matter of proper preparation of an application for participation in the SBIR and STTR programs. It is easy to find on the Internet an English-language manual on how to apply for participation in the SBIR and STTR programs - the DoD SBIR_STTR Tutorial. The application can be submitted online via the Internet from any state. To do this, there is a special website of the US Department of Defense for small businesses, where you will immediately find that SBIR provides funding for a small but high-tech business in the field of research, design, development and testing of a prototype that is technologically focused on defense needs. The SBIR participation phase is chosen by the applicant. The site notifies that the project must be implemented by a small business firm and in the amount of at least half of the project. If subcontractors or consultants are used, their efforts should not exceed two-thirds of the work in the first phase and no more than half in the second when carrying out the development of the company. All work can only be done in the USA.

Lists of all current topics of the competition (Current Solicitation), allowed and open for publication, are listed on three pages of the site. Each topic describes the requirements of all three phases. The applicant may choose the phase for which he undertakes. In the search thematic system (Topics Search Engine) the applicant can find competitive requirements on topics that meet the applicant's understanding and criteria. The Technical Questions section allows the applicant to ask and accept technical answers to the topic that is open and presented in the requirements of the competition. In the section of the site for the preparation and acceptance of proposals (Proposal Preparation and Submission), an applicant may apply for participation in the SBIR program.

Each competitive requirement passes through three important stages: the opening phase of competitive topics and requirements for them, the second stage is the starting date for receiving applications, the third is the deadline for accepting applications. In contrast to the time of initiation of the state defense order of the Russian Federation, the time for applications for participation in SBIR is strictly limited. The applicant chooses the topic, phase and receives brief requirements on the topic: description of the subject, definitions, description of the program, within which the requirement is developed, criteria for evaluating and choosing a research method, contract information. The technical questions of the applicant on the topic are set only at the stage of opening the topic, and the applicant can communicate directly with the author of the topic. Contact information, phone, e-mail, the author of the topic - at the end of the topic description. At the other stages of the proposals acceptance by the US Department of Defense on competitive topics, there will be no direct contacts with the authors.

Both the applicant and the one he asks remain anonymous, and the questions and answers submitted electronically will also be anonymous.

Having chosen a topic, the applicant clicks the “Application” button, the site will ask for the name of the applicant’s company, if the applicant’s company is not registered, it is registered now.

The SBIR application site is secure. All input and output data is encrypted for the protection and privacy of the applicant. Only the US government has the right to use application information.

Registration is simple. The first one is to fill in the standard information, the name of the company, its address, and the contact information of the applicant.

The requested federal tax tax registration number (Federal Tax ID) of the applicant is the registration number on the SBIR website (in Russia, this is the TIN number). If the applicant’s firm does not have such a registration number, you can use the applicant’s social security number. A password for further adjustment of the applicant's proposals on the website will be sent to the contact person.

After saving the registration form, the registration number of the applicant is immediately displayed. Then the applicant must complete the proposal package: the title of the applicant (a brief description of the company), an estimate of the value of the proposal, a technical proposal, a report on how the company will commercialize its proposal. Each section of the application package is accompanied by a strictly defined form that the applicant fills out. The statement of clauses is limited to 25 pages, or the claimant’s proposal will not be considered. Instead of the proposed offer form, you can upload ready-made offer files. If the applicant has repeatedly participated in SBIR programs, then the commercialization section may not be announced.

Challenging innovationIn the 1980, innovations in the Soviet submarines, though with difficulty, were still being introduced.

After filling out all sections, the site offers the applicant to double check for errors and inaccuracies. The site allows you to overload the corrected section. When you click the "Send" button, the site checks for errors and viruses, and if they are not there, it simply answers "you are a good fellow." The proposal of the applicant accepted. It can be adjusted to the deadline for receipt of applications. The number of offers from one applicant is not limited, which increases the likelihood of receiving grants from the SBIR program. Participation in the STTR program is issued in the same way.

This is how a small business on defense orders in the USA begins its work. No bureaucracy at the bidding stage. There are no licenses, requirements for military acceptance and quality systems, secret clerical work, accounting reports for potential executors of defense orders, as is done in Russia, in the United States. There, the main thing is to find performers who can solve the problems of the military departments and develop competition than to curb the process of obtaining state defense orders. It is not for you to wash floors and sew up holes on your overcoats. And most importantly, with the online mode of registering a small business in the US defense order, no bulging eyes “understood” Russian defense customers, in which you see only the inability to perceive proposals for defense innovations, especially from Russian small business firms.

What topics of competitive offers are presented for a small innovative business in the USA, can be seen in the example of the US Navy (this is far from sewing products and food products). For orientation on possible topics from the US Navy, an annual directory of development and current status of the Navy is published, now it is the US Navy program guide - 2012. Responsibility for the implementation, administration and management of the SBIR program lies with the Naval Research Administration (ONR) of the US Navy. Information about the SBIR program in the US Navy can be found on the Internet. The sites feature current topics for small business applicants.

Let's see the current topics in May 2012. There are 43 of them, from number N122-07 to number N122-150. All topics are explained briefly. For example, topic 108 is the Acoustic Array Simulation Environment System (“Environmental modeling system for acoustic antenna arrays”). Topic 116 - Free Space Optical Communication for Ocean Surface Transceivers (“Transceivers for Duplex Laser, Optical Communication from the Ocean Surface”). Topic 122 - The Airborne ASW Platform as an Underwater Sound Source ("aviation anti-submarine platforms as sound sources under water ”). Subject 147 - Advanced WCDMA Algorithms for Rapidly Changing Coverage Geometries (“Broadband Code Communications Algorithm for Rapidly Changing Cellular Network Geometry”). Subject 148 - Deployable Multi-Band Radio Base Station (“Deployable Multi-Band Radio Base Station”). Topic 150 - Advanced Software Defined Radio Capabilities and Information Dominance (“Software Radio Capabilities (SDR) for Information Dominance on the Battlefield”).

The problem of the introduction of tactical radio JTSR methods of program radio in the US Armed Forces has been dealing with small business since 1995. Do our designers even know what it is, software radio?


The difference between what they have and what we have in a small business, I feel on my back with 1982 year, including all the difficulties of developing innovative small business in the defense sector.

In my youth I was engaged in military innovations in the North navy since 1981. He introduced his idea of ​​digital signal processing for sonar systems of submarines of the Navy of the USSR. There were only three ways of implementation: the first - a fist, the second - a bucket of "sewed" (76-degree technical alcohol). In the early 80s, a bucket of awl was equal in value to 12 BASF diskettes for the DVK-2 computer (an interactive computing system - that was the name of the ancient prototypes of Russian personal computers of Minsk type production). The commanders of diesel submarines supplied me with alcohol. There was also a third method - a powerful Russian mat.

At the end of 80, a movement of youth science and technology centers (NTTM) began. I organized such a center in 1989 in the Northern Fleet. The military-political leadership of the USSR Armed Forces greatly helped in creating such centers, issuing a special directive to Glavpur D-1986 in October 40.

Under pressure from the military prosecutor's office, especially after the 1991 events of the year, I, the military innovator, had to leave the fleet because of the threats of landing in prison for innovation: allegedly buying devices for cash. At that time, it was believed that if NTTMs set their own salaries, NTTM is a money laundering mechanism, so the prosecutor must deal with them. This is the understanding of innovation at that time.

The USSR government trembled before the howling of enterprises about NTTM, where leading experts went to work, and wrote the Law “On State Enterprise”, where it was allowed to regulate the salaries of the enterprises themselves. Then all and screwed their salaries. As a result of this law, the production of not banknotes increased, but banknotes that instantly depreciated. What happened next is well known - famine and card distribution of products has begun.

Then I registered my center as a civilian scientific and technical center. And he received a state order on the topic of "Choice", and with that he fed his employees. Then we were not called small business, and my early innovations were useful in aviation. The municipality of the city in those years of hunger sometimes robbed our bank accounts, arguing that you can not pay tax on this amount, and we need the money to feed the employees of the municipality. This did not save us from the claims of the tax inspections. I in the courts defended my right not to pay tax for two years in compensation of funds withdrawn by the mayor's office from the accounts of the company.

In March, 2000, the Murmansk region sent me to the II small business congress in Moscow - as a small business veteran. I don’t know what the hell chose me for the first speech at the congress on behalf of all the innovators in Russia. But I spoke (there is a recording of television). My presentation on attracting small businesses to defense orders, at least for the modernization of electronic equipment, surprised the congress leaders with the courage to be engaged in defense matters. Time passed, the military leadership piled on me, so that I would never raise this issue.

But Russian legislation provoked the creation of one-day firms, through which military orders were laundered in the most shameless manner. The military grabbers by their one-day firms of this period discredited the very concept of small business. This is one of the reasons for the distrust of defense and society as a whole to small businesses in the defense sector today.


In the Murmansk region, a new way of reprising small businesses was invented - closing accounts without trial. And where is my constitutional right to movable and immovable property? Article 35 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation states: no one can be deprived of his property except by court order. I do not know, as in Moscow, but here, in the Murmansk region, it is a voice crying in the desert.

The thought sharpens me all the time: an innovator in Russia is the suffering of a family, the sympathy of loved ones and the contempt of enemies? Having not received a single penny from my theoretical studies in the field of the information theory of hydroacoustic and radar, I find its application only abroad. But in this theory, I overtook my foreign colleagues by 20 years. It is very difficult for innovators from the Russian province of my mathematical level to explain why there are all sorts of venture capital funds. In total, I had about 50 applications. And all - without an answer.

I myself feel the result of fruitless attempts to support small business in Russia. Note that in the US, a startup is not a venture capital fund of the “Russian Venture Company” or “Development Banks” type, but direct government support through the SBIR and STTR programs for developing small innovative businesses to the state of commercial use of their ideas. This stage of the development of small business is missed in the Russian legislation and is not understood by anyone.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin legally initiated the creation of a Advanced Research Fund such as the American DARPA. There was a hope: maybe they will recall the small innovative business as an effective tool for saving state funds for defense orders. After all, DARPA also uses the services of a small innovative US business.

The organization of military-scientific work on the introduction of digital signal processing in sonar systems began in May 1984. Then, in essence, the start was given to the development of COTS technology in the field of hydroacoustic detection of low-noise underwater objects. Two years later, the directive of the First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Navy Admiral of the Fleet Nikolai Smirnov was issued on the introduction of 100 sets of digital equipment on Soviet submarines.

In this we really overtook the Americans. Interestingly, we began the innovative work in 1982 year, simultaneously with the launch of the American program SBIR. A similar program for the modernization of US submarine hydroacoustic complexes using the COTS technology SBIR-ARCI began only in 1996.

Only seven people helped me in my work. The cost of innovation for the Northern Fleet at that time was equal to the size of the money allowance of the senior lieutenant. This is how our small business began with the forces of military innovators. But so far, COTS technology in the Russian military electronics has not been introduced due to the high cost of living. Over the same period, the US Department of Defense reduced expenditures 10 times as a result of attracting a small innovative business to fulfill military orders.

So when will we learn how to count money and see the benefits of simple solutions?

Subscribe to our Telegram channel, regularly additional information about the special operation in Ukraine, a large amount of information, videos, something that does not fall on the site:

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. not good
    not good 25 September 2012 11: 55
    I agree with the author of the article, because he himself faced outsourcing not by hearsay. MO is trying to control everything, even where it is not necessary, instead of setting a task and simply monitoring execution. And the money for Vladivostok is considered in Moscow and even cheap questions are solved for 2-3 months. And the company sits in anticipation of funding, it will be, it won’t be, it’s worth it, but as soon as the pressure has been paid, they can raise funds for the wrong article and then fix it for half a year, and at least you get the money out of the wrong side, but what’s wrong , so sorry, we’ll fix it. As long as there is no liability for errors in the financing structure of the Ministry of Defense, nothing will change.
    1. ShturmKGB
      ShturmKGB 25 September 2012 12: 33
      Unfortunately, in Russia everything is done not from the direction from which it is necessary to do, but from the one with which it all ends ... in short, through ...
  2. sergo0000
    sergo0000 25 September 2012 12: 53
    So when will they learn from us
    count money and see
    the benefits of simple solutions?
    KHORRROSHY QUESTION! In my humble opinion, when a real war will be declared in bureaucracies in Russia! And when the mentality of the Russian leadership changes to the point that an official and a deputy of different levels will become a real servant of the people and learn not to count money in your pocket, they’ll darn the state! if it’s really serious, this question can be safely classified as rhetorical! Evolution, you know, mentality is required. And before that, state decrees, with responsibility for their implementation (non-fulfillment), up to and including repression!
  3. Sasha 19871987
    Sasha 19871987 25 September 2012 12: 54
    Yes, they like to do business through this place ....
  4. Joker
    Joker 25 September 2012 13: 14
    That is why all scientists are leaving for the USA.
    1. strannik595
      strannik595 25 September 2012 17: 06
      good riddance .... Korolev and in sharaga he invented a rocket ........ Homeland or grandmother - everyone chooses for himself
  5. Brother Sarych
    Brother Sarych 25 September 2012 13: 34
    Small business has no place in the defense industry - and no one will convince me otherwise! And no outsourcing - all this nonsense ...
    Just some people really want to bite off the fat cake ...
  6. serezhasoldatow
    serezhasoldatow 25 September 2012 13: 40
    The riddle is what is the most difficult operation in the fleet? The answer is to tear out the tonsils, because everything is done through ...
  7. Eraser
    Eraser 25 September 2012 15: 00
    Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin legally initiated the creation of a Advanced Research Fund such as the American DARPA. There was a hope: maybe they will recall the small innovative business as an effective tool for saving state funds for defense orders. After all, DARPA also uses the services of a small innovative US business.
    , again Rogozin will do everything and decide. Well, well.
  8. suharev-52
    suharev-52 25 September 2012 16: 53
    My opinion: while gentlemen are sitting in the Kremlin, for whom the personal pocket is more important than the sovereign, and the homeland is located where he keeps grandmothers and real estate, nothing will change in Russia. I'm only interested in one question, how much more patience will the Russian people have? Sincerely.
  9. atos_kin
    atos_kin 25 September 2012 17: 14
    "We spend so much money on science not because we are rich, but because we are rich because we spend a lot of money on science."
    They say that was said so in one of Reagan's speeches. Article plus.
  10. Goldmitro
    Goldmitro 25 September 2012 17: 44
    It is absolutely necessary to involve our Kulibins in solving the problems of the defense industry, but at the same time it is necessary to take into account the Russian specifics: difficulties in creating a recoilless financing mechanism and a large number of frantic Petrikkas, rushing about with their “perpetum mobiles”.
  11. taseka
    taseka 25 September 2012 18: 04
    If you did not serve in the Army, then the path to the US Congress is closed to you, you are not a patriot and did not defend your Homeland! This is the law and it acts! In our State Duma, over 85% of the Army did not serve, they did not defend their homeland according to Freud - hiding their male inferiority they hate her! From here everything goes !!!
  12. v53993
    v53993 25 September 2012 19: 23
    To the author of the article: "Stop fooling the people! America's example is not acceptable for Russia, because half the world does not work for us for green candy wrappers. In the recent past, we have enough truly statesmen from whom you can learn how to raise industry, to strengthen the defense capability and defend the Motherland relying on our people and our resources. "
  13. Nick
    Nick 25 September 2012 20: 33
    So when will we learn how to count money and see the benefits of simple solutions?

    The voice of one crying in the wilderness ... Alas.
  14. MI-AS-72
    MI-AS-72 25 September 2012 21: 19
    We propose the development and implementation of innovations at the expense of the profit of the enterprise, and what kind of profit the design bureau has, that's all innovation.
  15. Magadan
    Magadan 26 September 2012 01: 48
    How much did the US and NATO spend on defense during the Cold War? Ten times more than the USSR! How many people were in NATO countries, and how many were in the USSR? Three times more! So what? They invented better than our weapons? What did they have? Maybe tanks? Automata? Air defense? Helicopter airplanes? And how much did their weapons cost in comparison with ours? Their bespontovaya M-16 cost $ 1.500, and our AK-47 is only $ 350 in the world market!
    Where is the result I ask ?! With whom are we going to take an example! There is no result, then there’s nothing to bazaar about. Learning from them needs to be built roads, not the military-industrial complex!
  16. Ruswolf
    Ruswolf 26 September 2012 02: 17
    The Americans need this in order to cover up their machinations for supplying militants in the Middle East and the terrorist groups with which they are cooperating.

    And in Russia, transferring defense of orders to private business is nothing more than writing off EARLY DIVIDED MONEY.