Pen to (White) Paper
The flexible contracting process under OTAs allows the government and industry to refine project ideas before beginning technical work
As we’ve already discussed, one of the benefits of Other Transaction (OT) authority is the flexibility to adapt government contracting processes to meet a specific need while optimizing industry participation. One of the ways that government can leverage this flexibility is by implementing a project proposal process that make it simple and easy for companies to share their ideas with the government.
Where the domain of technologies is broad or the number of consortium members who could provide relevant technologies is large (or both), the government can roll out a two-stage process for requesting and evaluating industry input, asking consortium members to submit general overviews of the technology initiative and a reasonable cost estimate, known as “white papers.” After reviewing the white papers, the government then asks for full proposals from those companies with capabilities of interest.
The white paper process builds understanding between government and consortium members that improves the formal proposal process. Consortium members whose white papers are approved are asked to prepare and submit full cost and technical proposals for competitive evaluation. Typically, the government performs technical evaluation and source selection, while the CMF focuses on compliance with the stated requirements of the request for project proposals, including a cost assessment.
This two-step process saves time and money for everyone involved: government does not spend time reviewing dozens of full proposals that will not receive an award, while industry does not need to invest its resources in proposing a technology that the government is not interested in funding.
The white paper process is just one of the many ways that OTAs support government-industry collaboration and enhance contracting efficiency.