Viewpoint: Pentagon Takes Big Step to Clarify Other Transaction Authority Rules

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Originally Published on This Site.

By Richard L. Dunn

7 December 2018

Senior Pentagon leaders have been calling for increased innovation, speed and affordability in defense systems acquisition for some time. Occasionally they invoke other transaction authorities (OTAs) to accomplish those ends.

Now the Pentagon has added substance to rhetoric by issuing a new “Other Transactions Guide.” This follows the promulgation on Nov. 20, of two policy memoranda on their definitions and requirements and, the authority to use prototype OTAs.

The new guide rescinds the previous guide of January 2017 which was seriously flawed. The new guide addresses both research OTAs (10 U.S.C. 2371) and prototype OTAs (10 U.S.C. 2371b) erasing an artificial division or stovepipes between the closely related authorities.

The ability to transition seamlessly from prototype to follow-on production means OTAs can be used as the basis for a complete alternative to procurement under the Federal Acquisition Regulation for systems development and fielding. They have also been used in the sustainment and upgrade of legacy systems.

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