Defense Department leaders and agencies have been granted much-needed flexibility to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment Ellen Lord delegated approval authority for Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs) related to the coronavirus response, consistent with Section 13006 of the CARES Act.
In an April 5 memorandum, Under Secretary Lord designated approval authorities for OTA prototype projects and follow-on production contracts and agreements as follows:
- Above $100 million, and up to $500 million, to the Directors of Defense Agencies/Field Activities with contracting authority, as well as the Director of the Defense Innovation Unit. This authority was otherwise vested in the Senior Procurement Executives (SPEs) of the Military Departments, the Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (“DARPA”), and the Director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
- Above $500 million, to the SPEs of the Military Departments, and the Directors of DARPA and the MDA. This authority was otherwise restricted to the Under Secretaries for Acquisition & Sustainment and Research & Engineering. Approval authority for OT prototype actions between $100 million and $500 million may now be further delegated by the SPE or Director.
In addition, in lieu of providing 30 days’ advance notice to congressional defense committees of OTAs above $500 million that are related to COVID-19, Section 13006 permits Under Secretary Lord or the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering to provide notice as soon as practicable after the OTA’s commencement.
The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech has established a webpage where all contract-related developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) are summarized. Find the page at: https://contractingacademy.gatech.edu/coronavirus-information-for-contracting-officers-and-contractors/