Other Transactions Consortia – Are they Legal?

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In this episode Strategic Institute questions the DoD’s use of so-called Other Transactions consortia.  Are these arrangements the best use of the authorities?  Do these entities meet the definition of consortia?  Do they actually award OTs?  Are they even legal? Who do they represent? -or- Have they been adopted as an “easy button” to quickly get money on contract?  Are they more akin to support services than consortium?

consortium : an agreement, combination, or group (as of companies) formed to undertake an enterprise beyond the resources of any one member – M&W

For many in and out of the government Other Transactions authorities have become synonymous with OT consortia.  A result of a lack of education, confusion abounds.  The Government Accountability Office, DoD Inspector General, and top government contracted lawyers have demonstrated this. However, all agree that these “consortia” lack transparency.

Other Transactions authorities, flexible contracts for advancing federal R&D and delivering new capability, risk being obscured and overlooked out of ignorance.  The lack of education is a well known problem.  In 2018, Congress mandated that “management, technical, and contracting” personnel get educated.  That has not happened in any meaningful way.  Instead of investing in the workforce, these “consortia” have been proffered and promoted by the government, and even academia, as the preferred solution.  There is little, if any, internal expertise, yet $10’s of billions in taxpayer financed funding is sent through these outside entities.  What is the logic here?   Is this responsible and who is accountable?  Why is the government reluctant to educate the workforce?  Is this just a case of “monkey see, monkey do” based on assumptions, absent of critical thinking or basic understanding?

To make the best use of Other Transactions authorities education is key.


graphic from Guide to Other Transactions Authority (all editions)


Related article: Other Transactions Consortia: Are they Vulnerable to Protest?