OTAs, CSOs and Other Alternatives contracting Methods not subject to the FAR

By: Karla Williams
January 8, 2020

With the dawning of a new calendar year, I am curious to see if contract methods other than the FAR, like OTA and CSO, activity will continue to grow, decline, or stay about the same.

AF Digital Infrastructure

The first attached article highlights some of the growth and describes how the AF is rebuilding their Digital Infrastructure using Other Transactions Authority (OTA) prototype agreements. 

You may notice that some of the companies listed in this article, like Microsoft, are NOT non-traditional DOD contractors (NTDCs). However, in order to use OTAs it is a safe bet that these traditional contractors are leveraging the services NTDCs.

In a presentation given to AFCEA NOVA in December, Colonel Bobby King announced that the Acquisition strategy for the latest iteration of this program (EITaaS) has been approved. An RFI is expected first quarter FY2020. I’ll be curious to see read it to see what it tells us about their strategy going forward. 

Space Force

The newly formed Space Force announced that they will be holding a pitch day on March 4. They will be using the Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO). Similar to OTAs, CSOs allow certain agencies to quickly make acquisitions based on innovative ideas that are presented to them from commercial firms that do not usually do business with the government. Like OTAs the CSO process is not governed by the FAR and provides agencies with the maximum latitude to evaluate each submission based on its individual merit.

Flexibility and Speed

Both OTAs and CSOs offer flexibility to acquisition teams in authorized agencies regarding the processes they have to follow, the list of mandatory terms and conditions and the ability to negotiate Intellectual Property rights. OTA is a legally binding procurement agreement between government and industry authorized for scientific research, technology development, and prototype projects. CSO is not.

For additional information on how to find opportunities based on alternative acquisition authorities, reach out to me. I’d love to talk with you.