Other Transaction Agreements give government access to groundbreaking R&D in a fraction of the time it takes under the FAR
The efficiency of the Other Transaction (OT)-consortium model makes OTAs extremely fast compared to typical government-funded prototyping projects. The average solicitation timeline in ATI-managed consortia—from releasing a solicitation to beginning project work—is less than 90 days. In many cases it’s much faster, as the process is designed to go as fast as the government customer and consortium members want it to go.
The below timeline shows how the OTA cycle stacks up against FAR solicitations.
This timeline assumes that the process operates optimally—actual FAR timelines tend to be much longer where the number of proposals overwhelms the government’s internal capacity for review or where extended contract negotiations or protests occur.
On the other hand, under the OT consortium model, timelines in “shared responsibility” areas can shorten over time as cycle-to-cycle learning curves improve.
Timeline comparison between FAR and OTA
One particular advantage of the using an OTA in partnership with a CMF is the consortium manager’s ability to surge resources to perform tasks that the government would be required to perform under a FAR-based contract. There are significant time savings when the government and consortium share responsibilities and maintain an open dialogue.
For instance, when the Air Force Research Lab needed to make an urgent end-of-year award, the ATI-managed National Spectrum Consortium helped the government release a project solicitation quickly. ATI’s internal team organized multiple “Industry Day” events for members to learn about the technology need. The Air Force awarded the project within 60 days and work started only 71 days after announcing the solicitation—much sooner than projects can be awarded under a traditional approach.
The Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC) uses a first-of-its-kind funding mechanism that enables both the government and private sponsors to support groundbreaking medical research.
The Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium has been able to expand its funding base using a novel funding construct in which private sector and philanthropic funds augment government sponsor contributions. ATI’s team of contracting experts were able to design this first-of-its-kind funding structure based on the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s identified needs and MTEC’s program goals, resulting in a customized solution that minimizes government risk and builds on industry’s R&D investments. Funding provided by private sponsors or investors allows MTEC to facilitate development and application of new medical technologies that help heal our warfighters and veterans.
To leverage this innovative funding structure, MTEC partnered with The Allergan Foundation, a U.S.-based, private charitable foundation that supports programs working to improve patient diagnosis, treatment, care, and quality of life. Through MTEC, The Allergan Foundation recently awarded funding to Stanford University (PI: Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg) to continue a vision restoration research effort originally funded by the Army via MTEC.
ATI rapidly established the Space Enterprise Consortium by leveraging our expansive infrastructure for collaboration management
When the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center wanted to quickly access cutting edge space technologies from across industry and academia, ATI was able to stand up and begin operating the Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC) in less than 60 days! We worked closely with the Air Force to quickly and efficiently adopt governance documents, elect consortium leadership, and recruit members that met the government’s specific technology needs.
ATI was awarded the SpEC OTA on November 2, 2017, began adding member organizations by Day 36, and issued its first solicitation to 40 active members on Day 67. By Day 180, SpEC had more than 140 members, had released five solicitations and had made eleven project awards to ten different members totaling $22M of funding on contract!
By strategically leveraging our suite of template governance documents, best practices developed while building five other OT consortia since 2014, and our staff surge capacity, ATI made SpEC’s speedy ramp-up possible.
OTA Consortia Democratize Government Contracting for Small Businesses and Nontraditional Contractors
Through OTA consortia, small businesses and academic institutions can bring innovative technologies to the DoD to advance critical defense capabilities
This week, we’re looking at how diverse OTA consortia of government, industry, and academic organizations can better support federal contracting through collaboration with small businesses, large businesses, and academia. By bringing together the groundbreaking technologies from small businesses and academic institutions and the production and integration capabilities of large companies, diversity in federal contracting ultimately improves defense capabilities.
Before we begin explaining how OTAs democratize government contracting, it may be helpful to understand the current state of this market. Historically, the federal government has awarded most of its big contracts to large contractors in order to meet the substantial procurement needs of federal agencies. As the missions of these agencies continue to grow in both scope and complexity, only companies with the infrastructure to support wide-reaching national and international missions have the resources necessary to complete considerable initiatives or meet strict contracting, accounting, or security requirements.
The federal market offers significant opportunities for small and emerging business that can meet critical government technology needs: in 2017 alone, the federal government spent $3.98 trillion across all of its contracts with U.S. businesses, benefitting both these federal agencies and the domestic companies providing the talent necessary to complete that contract work. However, due to the nature of government contracting, in which large sums are often allocated to a single large vendor, small businesses and nontraditional contractors have typically been unable to participate in this “built for titans” contracting market. In the long run, this approach can restrict the government’s access to innovative technologies available from across industry.
Join us next time to learn how nontraditional contractors can offer better solutions to many of the government’s challenges!
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!