What are Other Transactions authorities for?

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In this episode Strategic Institute cuts through DoD’s myth and lore to highlight the real reasons why Other Transactions were created and what problems they are intended to solve.

Other Transactions authorities (OTs) have realized increased use, but so too has misunderstanding. A dearth of education and misinformation from the top-down are obvious culprits, as is leadership’s lack of vision. DoD acquisition for R&D is stuck in a bad place. It is slow, wasteful, irrational, and lacks common business sense. DoD desperately needs the flexibility that allows for radically different ways of doing business to creatively engage, perform, and execute to better deliver the fruits of federal R&D, but there is little will and know-how. If we are honest, defense acquisition leadership’s answer has been tantamount to shrugging, as changing the system is said to be too difficult. Plus, insider’s are comfortable and are doing well. They have concocted many stories of their heroism while wallowing in self defeat.

Other Transactions present an entire suite of acquisition authorities, that together, can create an alternative acquisition system more appropriate for federal R&D activities and delivering new capability. From their inception, OTs are intended to provide an alternative to the failed FAR-based acquisition system that is and has always been inappropriate for R&D activities.

DoD leadership continues to try to fix what ails the acquisition system by applying the same thinking that created the problems in the first place, and do so repeatedly. Is it insane? Yes! Is it absurd? Even more so. Remedies and solutions exist, policy is light-years ahead of practice, yet self imposed blinders and ignorance prevent many from seeing readily available solutions.  Aim to solve problems, not excuse them.