Other Transaction Agreement
What is an Other Transaction Agreement (OTA)?
An “Other Transaction Agreement” (OTA) is a legal contract with the federal government that is not a cooperative agreement, grant, or standard federal contract. OTAs have been around since the NASA Space Act Agreement of 1958, but their use is fast growing. Both the number of OT awards granted by the DoD and the dollar amount per award have increased substantially since the program’s inception. In short, OTAs are legally binding instruments that may be used to engage industry and academia for research and development or prototyping activities.
More than what they ARE, OTAs are typically better defined as what they are NOT. OTAs are not standard procurement contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements. Therefore, they are not typically subject to FAR regulations YET they are still legal and encouraged.
Why Use an Other Transaction?
When to Use an Other Transaction Agreement (OTA)?
To be eligible to utilize OT Authority one of the following two criteria must be met:
What are the Types of Other Transactions?
Research OTs: Science and Technology OTs; Funding for applied and advanced research projects (10 U.S. Code 4021). Research OTs apply to basic, applied, and advanced projects in order to continue or develop dual-use technology solutions. They do not provide for follow-on production contracts within the terms of the agreement.
Prototype OTs: Formerly section 845 OTs; Follow up from successful Research OTs (10 U.S. Code 4022). They are typically utilized for R&D and prototype activities needed for military challenges. Prototype OTs CAN provide opportunities for direct award follow-on work without the need to engage in the re-compete process.
Production OTs: Follow up to successful Prototype OTs (10 U.S. Code 4023). As stated above, Production OTs typically can be directly awarded without the need of a re-compete as the Prototype OT has been proven effective and necessary.
Direct Awards: Direct Awards are openly competed within the GovCon Industry. The RFP is accessible publicly and can accept proposals from anyone eligible.
Consortia Facilitated Awards: These awards flow down from Government Customers through the Consortia Management Firms (CMF) to specific consortia that fit the requirements for the technology verticles of the request and are available to those consortia members only.
What is the Consortium Model?
An OTA consortium is an association of industry and academia working with a government sponsor under an OTA vehicle to achieve a common goal. The consortium operates under a common ruleset with a specialization in specific technology areas, designed to minimize barriers to non-traditionals and small businesses. The consortium management firm (CMF) manages the administrative needs and the flow of information to serve as a force multiplier to the government program.
Most CMFs are not-for-profit organizations with expertise in acquisition support. The role of the CMF has evolved from merely support government requirements to providing an additional level of compliance and oversight, an ecosystem of resources to its membership, a facilitator of collaboration and SME in alternative acquisition strategy.
What is the History of Other Transactions?
Historically, the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 was created by congress to develop a national space program. In its creation, NASA was granted broad authority to enter into and perform such contracts, leases, cooperative agreements, or other transactions as may be necessary to accomplish its mission.
Thus, the OTA was born!
The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) was first granted its authority for advanced research projects in 1989, with expanded prototype authority by 1993. The rest of the DoD received authority in 1996 with Section 845 of FY94 NDAA , with subsequent modifications in the coming years that added follow-on production authority, a pilot program for follow-on contracting for the production of commercial items, and more.
2015 was an important milestone for OTs, with the permanent codification of OTs in 10 U.S. Code 2371b (now re-named 10. U.S. Code 4022).
At present, 11 agencies have OT authority to date:
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