Other Transactions Contracts: Poorly Understood, Little Used

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 Full version of an article featured in National Defense Magazine      The good news – Congress has provided the Department of Defense with a cluster of legal authorities to conduct experimentation, research, development, prototyping, and production that can lead … Continued

Keeping the Faith in Federal Acquisition for R&D and Delivering New Capabilities

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  In this episode Strategic Institute talks about keeping the faith for 30 years. It has been that long since Other Transactions (OT) authorities were first introduced in the DoD.  The early pioneers, adopters, and educators still have faith that … Continued

Federal R&D: Creating the Infrastructure to Support Innovation

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  In this episode Strategic Institute discusses the lack of “infrastructure” to support federal acquisition that is dynamic and promotes synergy for the best results in R&D and delivering new capability.  Instead, the government chooses to miss opportunities and potential … Continued

Optimism for Federal Acquisition Innovation

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  In this episode Strategic Institute talks with Dr. Dolores Kuchina-Musina of REXOTA Solutions to discuss the focus of her PhD dissertation –  Other Transaction Agreements (OTA) and innovation policy.  Dolores approaches her work and study of an often difficult … Continued

Prototype Prototyping: Rolling up sleeves at the front-end to save time and resources at the back

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  The DoD is notorious for slacking at the front-end of R&D programs, preferring to punt and pray that it all comes together at the back-end.  From a business perspective this is sheer insanity!  The more thoroughly an organization identifies … Continued

Status-quo Strikes Back: Consequences resulting from a lack of education for flexible contracting authorities

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  The secret to federal business ingenuity and greater acquisition success for R&D and delivering new capability lies in educating people, whereas the secret for maintaining the status quo is in keeping them ignorant. The federal government has been “gifted” … Continued

Acquisition Ingenuity – applying new ideas and education to create positive change

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  Strategic Institute stands out for advocating for education, understanding, and supporting the workforce so they can best use flexible federal contracting authorities specifically for R&D and delivering new capabilities (other transactions and related acquisition authorities).   DoD leadership has … Continued

Is an Alternative for Acquisition Needed, or is Old Think Enough?

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Do we need a better defense acquisition system to exploit the fruits of R&D and deliver new capabilities? While the often mouthed rhetoric says “yes” actions by leadership send the opposite message “NO!”  The piece parts of what can easily … Continued

AF/DoD Acquisition Leadership – Rhetoric vs. Reality

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  The United States Air Force was once a leader in technological developments.  Before WW2 Assistant Chief of Staff for Procurement Maj. Gen. H.H. “Hap” Arnold took advantage of commercial developments that increased the octane-rating of aviation gasoline to ensure … Continued

Fear and Lore in the DoD Acquisition System

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  In this episode Strategic Institute discusses the toxic Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition workforce culture where fear and lore is enabled and perpetuated by entrenched interests. The DoD acquisition system for R&D and delivering new capabilities failed sometime ago … Continued

DoD’s Most Important Innovation

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  In this podcast episode, Richard Dunn, former DARPA General Counsel, addresses the 2022 Breakthrough Energetics Conference hosted by Purdue University where he highlights the most critical innovation the DoD can focus its energies on is business process reform that … Continued

DoD prioritizing COST over Value and Affordability

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  The defense acquisition system focuses so much on cost it has become completely unaffordable, and riddled with missed opportunities. In this podcast episode Strategic Institute discusses the difference between ‘cost’ and ‘value’, and we think out loud about the … Continued

Taking a Whooping! A Critical Look at the State of Small Businesses in the Defense Industrial-base

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  In this podcast episode Strategic Institute’s Founder, Rick Dunn talks with Amanda Bresler and Alex Bresler from PW Communications about their latest research – Analyzing the Composition of the Defense Small Business Industrial Base.   The research findings are … Continued

What Qualifies as a “Prototype” for an Other Transactions Agreement?

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What is a prototype? What seems to be a simple question with a simple answer is sometimes mysterious when trying to determine if a project falls under Other Transactions statutes. First, it is important to recognize that what the prototype … Continued

Sabotaging Innovation – Using a Procurement System for R&D

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  In this podcast episode Strategic Institute talks about DoD’s continued reliance on a procurement system for R&D and advancing new capability. “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” – Abraham Maslow The DoD habitually … Continued

Innovative People Do Not Use the Word “Innovation”

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In this episode the Strategic Institute team talks about “innovation,” a buzz term that has become ubiquitous in the federal government.  Using a 2008 article as a basis of discussion, the team relates and connects it to Other Transactions authorities … Continued

Why the DoD Acquisition System is Stuck

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Join Strategic Institute in discussing why the defense acquisition system for R&D and delivering new capabilities is persistently stuck in first gear and getting passed by on the rapid 21st century highway. The DoD once had a functional acquisition system … Continued

(mal)Adaptive Acquisition Framework

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  In effort to fix the critically serious and known problems that have plagued DoD acquisition for R&D and delivering new capability for decades, the DoD unveiled The Adaptive Acquisition Framework as a remedy.  However, the graphic representation of the … Continued

Private Sector Funding for Federal R&D & New Capability

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In this episode Strategic Institute discusses why private sector funding of government R&D and in the development of new capability is not only permissible using Other Transactions but also why it makes a lot of sense. With so many dollars … Continued

Other Transactions: Education Precedes Innovation

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  In this lively episode the Strategic Institute team talks about Other Transactions (OT) education. More specifically the lack thereof and how this tantamount to shooting oneself in the foot! It has been almost FIVE YEARS since Congress mandated that … Continued

Acquisition Solutions for R&D: Empower Protected Teams

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Extensive study of the defense acquisition system has produced numerous recommendations for its improvement.  A recommendation found throughout is the need for empowered and protected teams.  When it comes to R&D, innovation, and delivering new capabilities, teaming strategies as well … Continued

Is the Traditional DoD Acquisition System for R&D Institutionally Corrupt?

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YES! This podcast episode begins with a snippet of President Eisenhower’s farewell address warning the public about the corrupting influence of the Military Industrial Complex and ends with his warning about squandering future generations’ resources in exchange for present day … Continued

Other Transactions – A Culture of Creation vs. Culture of Compliance

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  In this episode of Innovation in Government Business, Strategic Institute discusses OTAs and compliance issues and myths. Other Transactions Agreements (OTA) are unlike procurement contracts under the Federal Acquisition Regulations System (FAR). The primary objective under the FAR system … Continued

Podcast: Other Transactions for Experimental Purposes 10 USC 2373 (now 4004)

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  Other Transactions for experimental purposes 10 USC 2373 (now 4004) is rarely used by DoD program offices. The authority allows DoD to quickly access commercially available technologies and products for test, experimentation and residual use. The authority is ideal … Continued

First Podcast! Why Use Other Transactions?

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The first episode of the Innovation in Government Business podcast is now live! Your friends at Strategic Institute for Innovation in Government Contracting welcome all Federal acquisition deviants, innovators, doers and creators to listen, learn, and be inspired to create … Continued

The Numbers Games

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  Practitioners or those otherwise interested in Other Transactions (OTs) should be aware of some numbers that impact the use of OT authorities. In a kind of slight of hand or trick Congress has redesignated the OT statutes recodifying them … Continued

New Life for 10 U.S.C. 2371(4021): Science and Technology Organizations Take Note

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Not every federal research and development project results in a prototype, some basic and applied research is done in the quest for expanding knowledge and/or determining utility.  For Department of Defense (DOD) R&D labs engaged in these activities, 10 USC … Continued

Great War Unpreparedness Again?

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  Historians, military officers, and most other people know that the Wright Brothers epic first flight of a powered, piloted aircraft took place in 1903. Many also know that in World War I, the Great War of 1914-1918, several nations … Continued

Space Development Agency: Why was Using an OT the Second Choice?

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With the enactment of section 867, National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2018, Congress directed that DOD shall “In the execution of…prototyping programs…establish a preference for using transactions other than” procurement contracts. The DOD Other Transactions Guide issued in November … Continued

Space Force: Opportunity Awaits

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  A remarkable opportunity awaits the Space Force to take a bold new approach to acquisition and synergistic relationships for delivering new capabilities more effectively, faster, and affordably. The DOD’s arcane business processes are like flying a straight wing aircraft … Continued

Other Transactions: Importance of the Vision Statement

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A “vision statement” is a narrative that memorializes the mutual goals of a project. It might be viewed as similar to the preliminary recitals that were once common in contracts. What is particularly important is the discussion that precedes crafting … Continued

Other Transactions: The Agreements Officer Conundrum

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Other Transactions, for the Department of Defense (DOD), 10 U.S.C. 2371, 2371b and Procurement for Experimental Purposes (10 U.S.C. 2373) have no statutory requirement for the involvement of an “agreements officer.” They certainly do not require an agreement to be … Continued

LAWLESS: Political Appointees, Acquisition Bureaucrats & Lawyers Ignore the Law

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  DOD senior political officials, military service Senior Procurement Executives (Senate confirmed officials), senior career acquisition officials, and their lawyers have in what seems almost a concerted manner refused to implement key Congressional directives embodied in statute.  They have ignored … Continued

Other Transactions: Promote Collaboration to Solve and Deliver

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Flexible Other Transactions authorities (OTs) offer greater opportunity to interface with a variety of beneficial program/project partners and establish fruitful collaborative relationships. The dominate workforce generation, Millennials, values collaborative working environments and developing synergy between parties.  They grew up online … Continued

DOD, COVID-19 and Other Transactions

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  Early in the COVID pandemic crisis DOD and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) were directed to cooperate in coming up with a response to the crisis.  They entered a memorandum of understanding on their cooperation on … Continued

Using SBIR Funding to Award Other Transactions Agreements (OTA)

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The DoD and federal government are missing out!  So too are large segments of the industrial base.  A result of an inability to conceptualize the obvious synergy between the Small Business Innovation Program (SBIR) and Other Transactions (OTs) and related … Continued

2021 NDAA – All Systems GO for Other Transactions! but curiosity about so-called “consortia”

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  Two provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2021 are likely to impact DOD’s use of Other Transactions (OT). One provision (sec.833) directly references 10 U.S.C. 2371 and 2371b OTs, but will probably have modest effect.  Another provision … Continued

New Administration: New Acquisition System?

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New acquisition policy initiatives from current Department of Defense leadership are unlikely in their remaining few weeks. The new administration, however, has a chance to hit the ground running by implementing congressional mandates and recommendations that have been ignored or … Continued

Video – Other Transactions for Sustainment

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SI’s Founder, Rick Dunn, video chats with Mike McGrath of McGrath Analytics to discuss Other Transactions and their prior and potential use for sustainment.   RD: Good morning!  This is another Strategic Institute Acquisition Web Talk.  Our guest this morning … Continued

Appropriate Contractual Instruments For R&D

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  Federal Government agencies enter into a wide variety of contractual relationships for various purposes under different regulatory regimes. In addition to procurement contracts covered by the Federal Acquisition Regulation and assistance instruments (grants and cooperative agreements), these include contracts … Continued

Go BARDA! – Misguided Criticism of Good Efforts

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The Biomedical Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been engaged in coming to grips with serious issues that challenge the health of our nation’s citizens as well its economy and national … Continued

Understanding the Language & Uses of Other Transactions: What Do “Maximum Extent Practicable” and “Directly Relevant” Mean?

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       Language and it’s meaning is important. One issue that contributes to a lack of understanding Other Transactions (OTs) relates to misconstruing statutory language. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) uses similar or the same words found in the OT … Continued

Video: Milestone Payments

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SI’s Director of Operations, Alayne Dunn, sits down with Founder, Richard L. Dunn, to discuss milestone payments.  What are OT milestone payments and how do they differ from FAR performance-based payments? AD: Rick, let’s talk about milestone payments.  Can you … Continued

 The Importance of Language in Government Business

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       You have come across a broad sea and landed on a beautiful tropical island.  Tanned people in scanty clothing come out to meet you and your sailors clothed in 15th Century European seamen’s attire.  You have discovered a … Continued

Avoiding a Fatal or Worst-Case Crash

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  This is not a DAU or contracting course lecture about going to jail if you don’t follow all the rules.  There is no FAR “jail” for contracting officers, much less program managers, who don’t follow the rules.  Contracting officers, … Continued

Prototypes for Readiness – Tapping Commercial Innovation to Improve Defense Readiness and Reduce Sustainment Costs

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The problem It’s no secret that DoD has an aviation readiness problem.  In September 2018, GAO reported that front line Air Force and Navy tactical aircraft were well below their operational availability goals and their operating and support costs were … Continued

Milestone Payments – Understanding a Powerful Technique

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  In discussing a topic like milestone payments, the aphorism, “OT’s are FAR out” should be kept in mind. It is easy to drift into FAR conceptual boxes. One of these is that contracts are structured either as cost-reimbursement or … Continued

Prize Authority – From Prize to What?

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  In selecting the right approach or right instrument to pursue innovation and find the pathway to a fielded capability, prize competitions under 10 U.S.C. 2374a are an under-utilized resource. Section 2374a is found in Chapter 139 of Title 10 … Continued

Leveraging Private Sector Investment for National Defense – Why Isn’t It Being Done?

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            Undersecretary of Defense (A&S) Ellen Lord recently came out with a statement focusing on “trusted investments” in innovative companies that have the potential to contribute to critical missions of interest to the Federal Government. Innovative … Continued

What Makes a Good OT Lawyer?

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  The Strategic Institute firmly believes that the Other Transactions (OT) Team is the most important part in a successful OT agreement.  The agreement’s success/failure can be directly related to how strongly the team embraces the “spirit” of OTs and … Continued

Other Transactions – Time to Ride!

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  Other Transactions authorities (OTs) are not just a tool, nor are they about process.  They are so much more and simpler than that.  These authorities are about freedom!  Freedom to think, freedom to experiment with different ways of doing … Continued

Appropriate Appropriations – Other Transactions

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It has been erroneously asserted on occasion that only Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) appropriations are available for execution of projects as other transactions pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 2371 or 2371b. The question of whether Operations and Maintenance (O&M) … Continued

OTAs in Space: Excerpts from FAST SPACE – Air University white paper

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  “Simply having technology first does not ensure an enduring lead. While the United States was first to develop the airplane, only a year after the Wright Brothers demonstrated flight in Paris, the French ran away with the military application … Continued

Origins and Evolution of Other Transactions – Part 3

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written by Strategic Institute Staff “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Early on, OT authority and the first agreements were misunderstood; subject to poor reporting that resulted in false assumptions which were then accepted as accurate. … Continued

Consortia: The Lost Vision

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  First, don’t get me wrong. Other Transaction (OT) consortia as commonly practiced today are a welcome advance over business as usual. They serve a number of purposes from moving money quickly on to contract, to attracting non-traditional performers, and, … Continued

Where are the major defense contractors? Clarification or Confusion: Subsection (d) of 10 U.S.C. 2371b

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In 2000, an amendment to Other Transaction for Prototype Authority (then section 845, currently section 2371b, title 10, U.S. Code) was included in NDAA 2001 that added what is now a sub-section (d). The amendment was intended to provide clarity … Continued

Understanding Section 2373 – Rapid Acquisition for Experimentation, Research and Testing

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  Organizations interested in innovation and flexible contracting should obtain delegations of authority for section 2373 of title 10, U.S. Code (purchases for experimental purposes) which while technically not using the language of other transactions is closely related in spirit … Continued

10 U.S.C. 2371 “Other Transactions”: Beyond TIA’s

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Written by Richard L. Dunn (July 2017)   Containing legal authorities in conceptual boxes that accommodate organizational structures and preexisting thinking is often bureaucratically convenient. It can also result in limitations that adversely affect mission accomplishment. The Technology Investment Agreement … Continued

Helping the “old think” Bureaucrats and Their Lawyers Get to Yes

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  Not infrequently government program managers and other acquisition professionals see an opportunity where some form of innovative contracting would expedite or enhance their mission. Sometimes they get a response lacking in knowledge and understanding, such as “Other Transactions are illegal.” … Continued

Twenty Years Ago — flexible and affordable contracting appreciated

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On May 27, 1997 Richard L. Dunn received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service for his work in innovative contracting. It read:   For exceptionally meritorious civilian service as General Counsel, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), … Continued

Agility in US National Security

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Even the world’s largest bureaucracy can learn to dance.  As the shift continues from the manufacturing economy of the industrial age to the digital economy of the information age, US national-security organizations need to transform as well. American military forces … Continued

Interview: Other Transactions – SOCOM University MacDill AFB

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Interview with Mr. Richard L. Dunn, Strategic Institute for Innovation in Government Contracting and Captain David Rothzeid, Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) about Other Transactions (OTs)   For more on Other Transactions attend The Future is Now! Fast and Affordable … Continued

Other Transactions in DoD, Not Business as Usual

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As government desires to expand the sources of innovative solutions for products or research capabilities that could be adapted to meet critical needs, thereby increasing the level of competition and innovation by accessing companies that have not traditionally done business with … Continued