In recent years, the federal government has made a large shift in how it expends taxpayer dollars on federal contracts. Numerous laws have mandated new or expanded use of rapid procurement processes or other transaction agreements (OTA), which are now a preferred procurement vehicle.
OTAs, while not contracts governed by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), are legally binding contracts that were once considered tools of last resort because they put taxpayers and the government at risk.
The theory behind OTAs is that nontraditional vendors would be lured into the government contracting marketplace by streamlined procurement processes. The hope is that nontraditional contractors that were unable or unwilling to enter into traditional procurement contracts would come to the table and bring with them innovative solutions that traditional contractors were not offering. The reality, however, is that these speedy buying procedures are being leveraged by large traditional contractors that are looking to boost their bottom line by avoiding normal contract administration, oversight, and accountability protections.
“Other transactions” is a term commonly used to refer to the authority to enter into transactions other than contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements. Agencies have authority to award such agreements in limited circumstances — research, prototype, and now defense follow-on production projects. Unlike a normal government contract, OTA is promoted as a more flexible agreement that can speed up the buying process and be better tailored based on changes in technology and the government’s needs.
Keep reading this article at: https://www.pogo.org/report/2019/03/other-transactions-do-the-rewards-outweigh-the-risks/