Fast, Flexible Access to Innovation

What are OTAs?


An “Other Transaction Agreement” or “Other Transaction Authority” (OTA) is a streamlined purchasing vehicle that brings innovative research findings and state-of-the-art prototypes from industry to the Federal Government. Congress created the first OTA as a contractual tool for NASA to acquire and apply breakthrough technologies at the advent of the Space Race. Today, OTAs enable fast acquisition of critically needed technologies in areas as diverse as armaments, satellites, medical devices, and electromagnetic spectrum technologies.

Under OT authority, the Government partner can be a single sponsor (e.g., a program executive office) or multiple sponsors coordinated through a lead agency. Technology providers can include for-profit large or small companies, nonprofit organizations, and academic research institutions. Because they are known sources of innovative new technologies, nontraditional companies (those that typically don’t work with the Government) are particularly encouraged to participate in OTAs.

OTAs allow streamlined contracting that isn’t constrained by some of the requirements of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR). They enable more frequent and open communications between Government and industry so that Government sponsors better understand industry trends and capabilities, and industry better understands Government requirements. This means that OT authority consortia deliver breakthrough solutions to the Government faster than ever before!

Other Transaction Authority enables more open communication so that Government and industry understand one another. The result is better alignment of industry solutions to Government challenges.

Open Communications = More Relevant Technology Solutions

Other Transaction Authority enables more open communication so that Government and industry understand one another. The result is better alignment of industry solutions to Government challenges.

OTAs Speed the Transition of Technology from Industry to Government


OT authority gives Government the flexibility needed to develop agreements tailored to a particular transaction. Many procurement statutes and regulations—including the FAR and DFARs (the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement)—do not apply to OTs.  In fact, a number of studies show that freedom from many contracting regulations have significant advantages. This flexibility means that by using an OTA, both Government and industry benefit from:

  • True “enterprise partnerships” between Government and the industry-academia consortium, where maximum collaboration and dialogue take place throughout the acquisition cycle;
  • Innovation through the participation of “nontraditional” defense contractors and academic institutions;

Faster contracting through long-term agreements between industry and Government that establish baseline terms and conditions (with the flexibility for negotiated modifications on a project-by-project basis);

OTA vs. FAR Process

By allowing the Government and the industry consortium to share contracting and technical responsibilities, OTAs offer faster contracting than traditional FAR-based acquisitions.

  • “One stop shopping” with a Consortium Management Firm (CMF) that handles contracting, payments, cost analyses, negotiations, IP issues, and all the other mundane tasks needed to enable exciting prototype work;
  • Open communication between Government and industry that helps Government learn about industry capabilities and helps industry understand Government needs;
  • Incentives that encourage nontraditional technology suppliers to participate in OTs casts a wide net for capturing ideas and innovations from industry;
  • Collaboration between Government, industry, and academia to address a broad range of complex defense, civilian, and commercial challenges.

The OT authority consortium enterprise is good government in action—the competition it promotes between large, traditional R&D providers, academic institutions, and small and nontraditional suppliers drives innovation across the entire US economy.


ATI’s core competency is building and managing OTA collaborations.

ATI combines the flexibility of the OT model with the power of collaboration.

As an objective, third party Consortium Management Firm, ATI recruits, organizes, and leads OT authority consortia, overcoming traditional barriers to teaming, such as geographical and organizational divides and intellectual property issues. Using a collaborative approach that can be applied to any set of complex challenges, we lead diverse industry and academic organizations to develop groundbreaking technology solutions. Through collaboration, we help team members—often competitors—reach consensus, establish priorities, and produce technology solutions that benefit Government, industry, and ultimately the Nation.

ATI currently manages 12 OT authority consortia, including the longest-standing one, the largest one (as measured by membership, project awards, and annual funding throughput), and the only one specifically chartered to attract private sector funding for the government sponsor’s research priorities. Our current R&D portfolio represents a broad array of technology areas, including shipbuilding and ship repair, advanced materials, medical technologies, electromagnetic spectrum capabilities, space technologies, and rapid prototyping.

For more than two decades, ATI-led collaborations have delivered valuable technologies and process improvements to the DoD, federal agencies, and industry.  We pioneered and perfected the art of collaboration management.

Want to participate?


To learn more about OT authority collaborations or to discover how to leverage the research and development benefits of OTAs, contact ATI.

Industry organizations of all sizes across all technology domains are invited to participate in any of the ATI-managed consortia.