Other Transactions: Education Precedes Innovation

posted in: Other Transactions, Podcast | 1
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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 the DoD develop a ‘preference’ for using OTs for R&D and prototype projects. At the same time in 2018 they mandated that program, technical, and contracting personnel also receive training and education. Though OTs are counter-cultural and antithetical (a different world) to business as usual, not much more than a two hour webinar or lunch-and-learn can be found; hardly opportunities to develop robust understanding. Some OT knowledge has been gained by some, but conceptual and practical understanding remains poor. The responsibility is squarely on leadership, but they have a limited appreciation or understanding of the power and potential of OTs. Simply put, OT education is not being supported in a meaningful way, but folks seem to expect a lot from these contracting authorities that practically nobody has been trained to use and far fewer understand. Let’s call it what it is, irresponsible. There is a lot of ‘putting the cart before the horse’ in the DOD and this is shining example of the DoD making things more difficult than need be. Education precedes innovation, and the most needed innovation is how the DoD approaches and conducts business to better serve the warfighter, taxpayer, national security, and enhance the industrial-base, and deliver better solutions.

  1. maureen blake

    Great podcast. This hits at the heart of why contracting is overly complicated. Not only do KO/COs start with the template spitting out FAR/DFAR but they include every POSSIBLE clause that MIGHT be relevant. Trouble is many KOs then don’t read each clause to customize and pull out the non relevant clauses. They leave them in for the minisicule risk they MIGHT be applicable. Govt often then also send out to industry contracts which include a checklist but all those clauses not checked. We have had ALOT of retirees and YES it take YEARS to really become expert well versed in understanding FAR/DFAR. More importantly even without experience and being an SME a less experienced but SHARP contract manager could easily READ and understand but they don’t have TIME to do so. Most trust the existing process rather than critically think and look at the process and systems as tools to guide in their customization of contracts. I think this is a learned skill few are actually teaching sadly. Often the Prime contract includes MORE than the GOV NEEDS to mitigate risk and that darn check list- including all the UNCHECKED items for some reason is passed on to subs! The systems Govt use check clauses those that MIGHT be relevant! They are not ALWAYS Necessary! Its just ridiculous how much nonsense time is wasted on things that have no added value. The Compliance folks themselves don’t often make the best judgment calls and all too often is simply a MACHINE in charge of compliance. The ghost in the machine holds more power than people! LOL Really its a waste of time that people spend on nonsense provisions and processes which ONLY Have value if there is critical thinking in using the AI of systems as TOOLS for one’s analysis. MOST primes send out Reps and Certs and all sorts of nonsense which is CLM systems generate because few understand how to customize their risk management systems. Ironically I find this INCRERASES everyone’s risk as a contract padded with nonsense is less understandable. OTS offer such a fabulous opportunity but the reality is they will not help the initiatives to increase supplier diversity and small business awards if only larges have time for someone to become the expert of an OT. SMALLS need to understand OTs!