Other Transactions agreements (OTs) are faster than traditional acquisition. But this is not the “why”. Other Transactions are about experimenting with smart business, teaming and collaborative approaches. Speed is a value-added by-product of doing mission-oriented work.
The reality is most folks don’t like the front-end heavy lifting part of OTs. It takes a lot of work and figuring out to do things differently from how they have always been done, especially against bureaucratic resistance. Building the right action team is key, it may take time for things to gel. Additionally, OTs emphasize parsing the problem and collaborative solutions versus starting after a requirement has been created, this does take a little more qualitative up-front time. The contract negotiations are real negotiations, not plug and play prescribed clauses, so this adds up too.
Even though the workforce has received little training and is less than enthusiastically supported, when surveyed (LMI 2007), OT users largely reported faster time to contract and project execution time. Doing business in a thoughtful “commercial-like” way opens opportunities for many improvements, speed certainly being one, or in some cases the main goal.
Global Hawk, a major aerial system, rolled out 21 months after program initiation. The contractor’s previous effort on a much smaller less capable and less sophisticated platform conducted under the FAR system took much longer. In the Joint-Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (J-UCAS) program, two major defense contractors were awarded OT agreements for an entirely new type aircraft between sixty and ninety days after program initiation.
DOD can get needed capabilities into the force and fleet much faster than it does with the current complex, process burdened system with tall barriers to entry. An obvious solution is to create and foster smart teams with good business acumen to execute OTs. With permission and some training the potential for wins, including speed, is too big to ignore.
written by Strategic Institute staff