Application of Systems Engineering to USAF Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR)

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The US Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a vital element of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) portfolio. The SBIR program funds early-stage R&D projects at small technology companies that support a US Department of Defense (DoD) need and have the potential for commercialization in private sector and/or military markets. We report on research measuring the application of Systems Engineering (SE) and the degree of Systems Engineering applied in SBIR projects through analysis of subject-matter expert (SME) interviews. SMEs were sampled from AFRL as well as other USAF organizations. The research methodology assessed the current application of SE in SBIR as well the SE expectations government offices have for SBIR projects. The research specifically examined current US DoD and US Air Force Systems Engineering Policy and found that it does not adequately address SBIR projects. SE processes are not well documented within the community. We then identified applicable SE tasks found in Air Force SE policy and suggest a tailored Systems Engineering approach for SBIR projects. We present a SBIR SE checklist recommended for use by SBIR program managers tailored according to the phase and scope of any SBIR project.


© 2013 The Authors.

This is an open access article published by Elsevier and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

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Procedia Computer Science