News in Brief

NASA and small biz, Pentagon and the private sector, Hagel and India

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NASA moves to Phase II of small business technology initiative

NASA has selected 23 proposals from small businesses and research teams to participate in the second phase of its Small Business Technology Transfer Program.

The proposals would continue the development of technologies to support future NASA mission needs, and could also lead to commercial services and products.

"Technologies selected for further development under STTR Phase II will demonstrate the feasibility of new propellants for in-space propulsion, increase capabilities to perform autonomous navigations, and advance new methods for the manufacturing of advanced material," NASA announced in a statement.

The STTR program uses a three-phase award system to address specific technology gaps in NASA's programs and is engineered to give small businesses and research institutions an opportunity to collaborate. The selectees for Phase II are eligible to enter negotiations for possible contract awards estimated at a combined total of about $17.2 million.

"As teams in our Small Business Technology Transfer Program move into this second phase of development, we'll see innovative concepts mature into technologies that can enhance our exploration plans on journeys to asteroids and Mars, while benefitting our technology based economy here on Earth," Michael Gazarik, NASA's associate administrator for space technology in Washington, said in a statement.

IBM expands team bidding for DOD health record contract

Healthcare IT services consultant Impact Advisors is joining a team led by IBM to bid on the lucrative $11 billion Defense Department electronic health record contract. The team also includes leading private sector electronic heath record provider Epic.

IBM hopes to act as integrator on the multi-year contract to supply health records for military service members, retirees, and dependents -- a population approximately 9.7 million strong. Impact Advisors will bring knowledge of clinical transformation, IT project delivery and implementation to the bid, according to a release. Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization contract has been through several draft requests for proposal, and a final solicitation is expected by the end of FY2014.

Pentagon taps 8 for Defense Business Board

The Pentagon named eight members to its private-sector advisory group on Aug. 11, including former Office of Management and Budget Controller Daniel Werfel, who is now director of public sector practice at the Boston Consulting Group.

The other seven additions to the Defense Business Board are:

  • Taylor Glover, president and CEO, Turner Enterprises
  • Nancy Killefer, former senior partner, McKinsey & Co.
  • Kenneth Klepper, former president and CEO, Medco Health Solutions
  • Shelly Lazarus, chairman emeritus, Ogilvy & Mather
  • Emil Michael, senior vice president of business, Uber Technologies
  • Thomas Nides, managing director and vice chairman, Morgan Stanley
  • Nicholas Pinchuk, chairman and CEO, Snap-on

The board's mission is to bring private-sector savvy to the Pentagon's business practices. The board has been critical of the Defense Department's approach to innovation, saying in a recent report that DOD's acquisition process was riddled with barriers to entry.

Hagel urges defense tech ties with India

On a visit to India last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called for closer defense and technology ties with the subcontinent. Washington and New Delhi should "transform our nations' defense cooperation from simply buying and selling to co-production, co-development and freer exchange of technology," a Pentagon news service quoted Hagel as saying.

Hagel also said that "bureaucratic red tape" should not be an obstacle to "defense industrial cooperation," according to the Pentagon news service.

Frank Kendall, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, joined Hagel on his India trip.

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