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July 22 -- The Office of Technology Evaluation (OTE) in the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security invites public comments to OMB by August 23, 2021 regarding the Competitive Enhancement Needs Assessment Survey Program for small and medium-sized firms in the defense industrial base.
 
Under the Competitive Enhancement Needs Assessment Survey Program (The Program), the Bureau of Industry and Security’s Office of Technology Evaluation (OTE) distributes surveys nationwide to businesses in order to determine which government competitive enhancement, procurement opportunity and business diversification programs would benefit their competitive position in the marketplace. The results of the mandatory surveys allows The Program to align industry stakeholders with the federal and state resources best suited to meet their individual needs. The expertise of 70+ federal and state government organizations is made available to The Program, in addition to the excess equipment and facilities resident in closed federal installations plus the excess government equipment at government contractor facilities. The companies respond to the OTE program surveys on a mandatory basis.  

Feedback on The Program from industry, in particular defense subcontractors, has been positive; many noting that they were unaware of the breadth of available federal and state assistance programs. Among them include advanced manufacturing, product/service development, RDT&E programs, U.S. export controls, business development, financing, technology transfer, retraining, marketing skills, and excess equipment and facilities. The successful participation by industry in The Program has aided the retention of significant portions of the defense industrial base.

The Program will continue to operate in the same manner: companies responding to the mandatory survey will be matched with the resources of a wide range of federal and state programs with an emphasis on business development and incubation, innovation, advanced manufacturing, excess equipment, and retraining, among others. Although the initial efforts of The Program focused on the impacts of defense downsizing on small business, OTE quickly learned how non-defense dependent firms could also benefit from the variety of services offered by the U.S. Government. Consequently, the most recent survey sample included firms who manufacture products for non-defense end-uses, including NASA and NOAA programs. This resulted in the distribution of 8,000 surveys to small firms located in states adversely affected by program terminations and economic downturns as well as manufacturers in critical technology industries that support U.S. national security.
 
Based on OTE’s analysis of the mandatory survey responses, officials from The Program will match specific companies with appropriate federal and state level assistance programs. An interagency response team comprised of representatives from the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Labor, Interior, Energy, and Homeland Security; the Small Business Administration; NASA; the Federal Laboratory Consortium; and numerous state level programs, including the Local Reuse Authorities associated with excess federal equipment and facilities. After the survey information is collected and analyzed, qualified OTE staff will forward summary information to the relevant agencies and organizations that will directly follow-up with each firm.

By design, OTE is able to tailor the available federal and state programs and resources to the needs of each respondent company. This approach was successfully cultivated under the previous Needs Assessment and Manufacturing Empowerment Zone program. OTE staff will prepare assessments and statistical summaries of the response data on an ongoing basis for internal review, comment, process improvement, and overall support of The Program. Information regarding company needs for U.S. Government assistance will be forwarded to relevant government agencies for action on a monthly basis until the end of The Program.
 
BIS Office of Technology Evaluation: https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/other-areas/office-of-technology-evaluation-ote
OTE Competitive Enhancement Needs Assessment Survey Program submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202107-0694-003 Click on IC List for survey form, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation
FR notice inviting comments to OMB:  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/07/22/2021-15561/agency-information-collection-activities-submission-to-the-office-of-management-and-budget-omb-for
 
For AEA members wishing to submit comments to OMB, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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