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ACT-IAC White Paper: Other Transaction Authority

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Other Transaction Authority: Best Practices for Industry and Government
Developed by the ACT-IAC Acquisition Community of Interest
Date Released: July 10, 2020

Other Transaction Authorities (OTAs) are legally binding agreements that are different from traditional Federal contracts governed by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Agency policies and regulations, in addition to only being available for use by specific authorized agencies. Most agencies cite flexibility as a primary reason for the use of OTAs, considering that OTAs are generally used for research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) activities. OTAs neither follow a standard format, nor include terms and conditions or award processes required in traditional mechanisms, such as FAR-based contracts or Federal grants. Since Congress authorized 11 Federal agencies to use OTAs, their use has risen sharply since 2015.

Therefore, OTAs can help meet project requirements and mission needs faster than traditional procurement methods and provide the promise of attracting non-traditional providers that identify standard Federal processes, terms, and conditions as costly barriers to entry. There are many benefits to the appropriate use of OTAs, but there are also issues that both government and industry should consider. This paper discusses these issues and identifies a diverse set of approaches for how to best use OTA, exploring the topic from both industry and government perspectives.

There are 11 agencies granted OTA as of the writing of this document: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Transportation (DOT), National Institutes of Health (NIH), DOT’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DHS’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA), DHS’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), and DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E).

Document Date: 
Jul 10, 2020
Author (organization): 
ACT-IAC Acquisition COI
Document type: 
ACT-IAC Report
Gov-Ind Engagement