The flexibility of OTAs makes it possible for the government and industry to use a single consortium management firm for all of their contracting and administrative needs—meaning government and industry can focus on building better technologies
You’ve already learned about how the government partners with an industry consortium through an OTA in Other Transaction 101. However, the benefits of an OTA are enhanced when the government and industry work with a consortium management firm.
Usually, the consortium management firm (CMF) handles the business operations of the consortium, dealing with all the contractual interactions needed to assemble project teams and dissolve them when the work is completed, taking care of contracting, payments, cost analyses, negotiations, IP issues, and all the other mundane tasks needed to enable the exciting prototype work. For the Government, this means the best of both worlds: the ease of one-stop shopping, coupled with easy access to innovations from flexible, as-needed industry teams.
The CMF can award projects one-by-one (as directed by the government), or it can use a streamlined approach where all Government contracting decisions are communicated through a single Agreements Officer to the CMF, which then places projects on award. In some OT-consortia, the consortium or CMF has very little involvement in technical/cost evaluation of project proposals. Others use non-Government subject matter experts to inform Government source selection bodies about the technical and/or commercial merit of project proposals submitted by consortium members.
Ultimately, allowing a CMF to take on some of the burdens of contracting meanings that the government can focus its time and resources on finding the technologies they need, and industry benefits from faster, simpler contracting.
Single Point Contracting Process for the OT Consortium Model
Bob Tuohy, ATI’s COO, discusses OTAs with Government Matters
ATI’s Chief Operating Office, Bob Tuohy recently sat down with Government Matters to discuss the recent growth of OTAs within the DoD and to share some of the benefits this contracting vehicle offers. Bob specifically describes the opportunities for collaboration offered through OTAs and how this collaboration benefits both government and industry.
By enabling collaboration between government, industry, and academia, the AMC successfully delivers innovative metalcasting solutions and best-value support to our Warfighters
Government agencies like the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) were having trouble obtaining repair or replacement parts for critical weapons systems because many US manufacturers had gone out of business as a result of manufacturing globalization. The sensitive nature of these defense materiels meant that DLA needed to source all components domestically, but it had difficulty replacing or repairing parts where the American manufacturers had closed their doors, so multi-million dollar systems were out of commission when the government couldn’t get thousand dollar replacement parts.
To bring these systems back into operation, DLA worked with ATI to form and manage the American Metalcasting Consortium (AMC), a collaborative partnership made up of 95% of existing US metalcasting suppliers and manufacturers, as well as academic organizations with expertise in critical need areas. Today, AMC funds critical research and development on behalf of DLA, like:
Reducing production costs and lead times for production of weapons system components by improving manufacturing processes that strengthen the US supply chain;
Developing industry product data standards that communicate needs and expectations along the supply chain, reducing production costs, lead times, and failure rates; and
Identifying and evaluating new technologies that improve the strength, effectiveness, and efficiency of cast parts, ensuring technological superiority of our defense systems.
By enabling cohesive collaboration between government, industry, and academia, ATI and the AMC successfully deliver innovative metalcasting solutions and best-value support to our Warfighters while maintaining the US metalcasting industry’s position as a world leader in this field.
Other Transaction Agreements get rid of many of the contractual hassles of FAR-based technology acquisitions
In our previous post, we explained how Other Transaction (OT) authority, an alternative to cumbersome Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)-based acquisitions, brings groundbreaking technologies to the government quickly and efficiently [Link]. Today, we’ll give you the need-to-know about this innovative acquisition model.
Unlike the FAR, Other Transaction Agreements (OTA) are designed to allow fast purchases of rapidly changing technologies, making them ideally suited for research and development work. In particular, OTAs address FAR challenges to R&D like these:
Expensive and inefficient FAR-based acquisition requirements because of poor communication between government and industry.
Inability to attract and engage technology providers of interest to the government
Intellectual property disputes
Limited technology transfer to practice
Cumbersome and slow contracting processes
There are two types of Other Transaction (OT) vehicles: the Other Transaction for Research – fundamental, applied, and/or advanced research and development; and the Other Transaction for Prototypes – critically needed prototype development from an expanded technology based.
Other Transactions are particularly effective when the government partners with an industry-based consortium. In Other Transaction (OT) authority consortia, the government can be represented by a single “sponsor” (like a program executive office) or multiple sponsors coordinated through a lead agency. The consortium is made up of organizations with technology development skills in a specific area of interest, like:
For-profit companies, including small and nontraditional businesses;
Not-for-profit/nonprofit organizations; and
Academic research institutions.
These consortium partners are connected through a binding instrument called an Other Transaction Agreement (OTA). OTAs lower the barriers to participation by innovative small businesses and nontraditional contractors.
On the whole, the OT consortium model creates…
True “enterprise partnerships” between government and an industry-academia consortium where collaboration and dialogue happen throughout the acquisition cycle;
Innovation through participation by “nontraditional” defense contractors (firms who have never before worked with the government); and
Better outcomes in less time without sacrificing competition at the project level.
Next time, we’ll give you an overview of Other Transaction Agreements that exist today, which cover technologies ranging from shipbuilding and ship repair to the electromagnetic spectrum, from to biomedical capabilities to and space, and from armaments to aviation.
Other Transaction collaborations bring the Federal Government up-to-speed on industry’s newest technologies.
One of great benefits of the Other Transaction-consortium model is the collaboration between government and industry that can take place. Often these discussions help industry understand the government’s technology needs, and the government gets rare insight into industry’s latest capabilities. Recently, this paid off big time for both DoD and industry members of the National Armaments Consortium…
When the Army needed new armaments technology ideas to replace existing mine capabilities, they reached out to the government’s Department of Defense Ordnance Technology Consortium (DOTC) and the ATI-managed National Armaments Consortium (NAC). Alongside DOTC, we organized an Industry Day where government and industry membership exchanged technical know-how, discussed industry armaments abilities and new ideas, and refined the Army’s project requirements.
The Industry Day resulted in three (3) prototyping agreements through DOTC for innovative armaments technologies, representing opportunities to significantly improve the effectiveness of our armaments systems. ATI’s other consortia facilitate similar collaborations with the government that lead to equally meaningful results.
There are 23 Other Transaction (OT) authority consortia currently providing the government with access to diverse range of cutting-edge research and prototypes.
Last post, we gave a quick run-down of Other Transaction Agreements (OTA) and how they work. Today, we’ll show you how they’re being used by the government to access innovation.
Other Transaction (OT) authority is currently used to bring research findings and prototypes from industry to the federal market in areas as diverse as biotechnology, electromagnetic spectrum uses, and armaments technology. Other Transaction Agreements (OTA) enable quicker technology and prototype acquisitions, bringing solutions to end users sooner.
OTs also create a long-term channel for the government to collect industry input and feedback on rapidly evolving technologies. The collaborative nature of this model and its emphasis on engaging nontraditional technology suppliers casts a wider net for capturing ideas and innovations than available under the FAR.
For participating companies, the model lets them weigh-in on critical technology issues and gives them a voice to inform government technology requirements. The Other Transaction (OT) authority consortium fosters technology transition partnerships between small technology innovators and large system integrators. And its agile contracting features help government meet obligation benchmarks.
ATI has emerged as the leader in OTA collaborations.
Of the 23 Other Transaction (OT) authority consortia in operation today, ATI performs consortium management services for eleven of them.
Join us next time for some one-stop shopping using Other Transaction Agreements!
By facilitating teaming, ATI and the Vertical Lift Consortium help industry respond quickly to government needs for critical technologies.
One of our clients, the US Army Aviation Development Directorate Science and Technology Program recently had an urgent need for project ideas that would help them figure out their needs for the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS). Their goal was to find out what technologies from industry they could incorporate into the FTUAS when replacing a legacy Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System.
The Army came to the ATI-managed Vertical Lift Consortium (VLC), asking VLC members to form teams and send in short summaries of their project ideas (called whitepapers) for five separate Topic Areas of Interest in less than 30 days. The Army released the request to ATI and the VLC on July 5, 2017. To help build these teams and meet the quick turnaround the Army needed, we hosted a series of five Speed Networking Webinar events on July 11 and 12 that let VLC members find partners with capabilities in the needed technology areas. In Speed Networking sessions, each participant gets a few minutes in the spotlight to tell the rest of the group what their company does and their areas of technical expertise. Contact information is shared between members, and companies reach out and build teams when members have capabilities that complement each other.
VLC members submitted their project ideas to the Army on August 1, and four of the six teams selected by the government for award were formed through the Speed Networking Webinars we hosted. By introducing these companies to one another, ATI led meaningful teambuilding that helped VLC members realize business opportunities, introduced the Army groundbreaking ideas, and eventually delivered critical technologies to Warfighters.
Other Transaction Agreements streamline government technology acquisitions
U.S. industry moves fast: profit motive, anxiety over competition, and constant advances in technology drive rapid evolution. In industry, you move fast or you move aside. Innovation propels companies; tradition holds them back. That’s both the perception and the reality.
The government, especially the DoD, needs to quickly buy and apply new ideas, processes, and technologies, but too often the rules get in the way. Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)-based acquisitions are designed to minimize the government’s risk in acquiring products and services.
Unfortunately, this traditional acquisition model can be cumbersome, limiting government access to the latest technologies available from industry. The complexity of navigating the FAR excludes participation by “nontraditional” contractors—businesses offering innovative technology solutions, but lacking the contracting resources and experience necessary to work with the government.
Challenges using FAR-based contracting ultimately led certain government sponsors to look outside the FAR for a solution and to charter an enterprise partnership using the Other Transaction (OT) consortium model, a streamlined alternative to the FAR.
Other Transaction authority has been around for a while: the model originated in 1958 at the advent of the Space Age. The Russian launch of the Sputnik satellite in 1957 kicked off a new era in human history and spurred the United States into action. For the US to catch up, NASA needed to develop unprecedented technologies—and fast. Congress created the first Other Transaction authority as a contractual tool that NASA could use to acquire and apply breakthrough technologies from industry to counter Russia’s head-start in the Space Race.
Today, OTs are used to bring research findings and prototypes from industry to the federal market in areas as diverse as biotechnology, electromagnetic spectrum, and armaments.
In the coming months, we’ll be explaining the Other Transaction (OT)-consortium model through a comprehensive series of eleven posts that will bring you up to speed on how ATI uses Other Transaction authority to bring innovation to government. Up next: a quick run-down of OTs and how they work.