Other Transaction Authorities are the latest buzzwords in federal contracting, and for good reason.
OTAs have become critical to rapid prototyping in the defense realm, in some cases cutting off years from the time warfighters wait for new systems and capabilities.
OTAs are a business tool that let the government buy products and services using means other than those governed by the Federal Acquisition Regulations. These authorities, initially conceived by NASA in the 1950s and later expanded to the Defense Department in 1994, have recently surged in use and popularity — and praise. However, they also elicit a fair amount of criticism and debate about their future.
Fairness during the award process, soundness of proposals and lack of public information throughout the course of the award are among issues detractors highlight on OTAs. If their supporters want to preserve this acquisition instrument, they must address these concerns.
They’re not small concerns.
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