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Congress preps defense bill with new R&D, innovation support

December 09, 2021

This week, Congress reached an agreement on the FY 2022 defense authorization bill (i.e. “NDAA”). The legislation includes support for expanding the Defense Innovation Unit’s (DIU) reach, research at minority-serving institutions, and commercialization pilots, as well as a $7 billion increase in research funding. While the NDAA does not provide appropriations, the bill is a strong signal for where the FY 2022 appropriations are likely to land. Procedurally, the House passed the NDAA this week, and the Senate is expected to pass the bill without amendments. Highlights from innovation provisions in the FY 2022 NDAA follow.

  • Encourages DIU to collaborate with industry and communities beyond the unit’s current research (which is concentrated in Silicon Valley, Boston and Washington).
  • Authorizes a pilot program for the Department of Defense (Defense) to issue contracts, primarily to small businesses, research institutes and universities, that support technology development.
  • Requests Defense to identify five SBIR Phase II projects before the next NDAA that will become “Entrepreneurial Innovation Projects,” a five-year pilot to facilitate Phase III successes.
  • Reauthorizes the Defense Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).
  • Enables Defense to award grants for building the capacity of minority-serving institutions (MSI) to conduct defense R&D.
  • Allows Defense to set MSI subcontracting targets for federally funded R&D centers and university affiliated research centers.
  • Increases the total Defense research, development, test and evaluation authorization from $111 billion in FY 2021 to $118 billion in FY 2022.
legislation, defense, dept of defense, sbir