Navy plans to spend $100 million on cyber through new other transaction authority

The Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command is the latest DoD organization to look to Other Transaction Authority as a work-around to the traditional acquisition system in pursuit of new cyber capabilities.

SPAWAR plans to spend about $100 million though a forthcoming OTA structure it calls the Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP), according to a draft copy of the program announcement distributed to industry last week. Awards for specific projects could begin as soon as fall 2018.

The proposed OTA would pay firms for prototype work across 14 different “technology areas,” among them: cyber warfare, cloud computing, data analytics, assured command and control, and embedded systems in the “Internet of Things.”

The Navy plans to provide more details on IWRP during an industry day on Feb. 1 in Charleston. South Carolina. Like other OTA arrangements across the department, it first plans to hire a third-party firm or institution to manage a consortium of both traditional and non-traditional Defense contractors who are capable of conducting prototype work in its various technology areas. Those members would then compete for individual projects by submitting proposals in response to SPAWAR’s technology needs.

The Army is in the process of establishing a similar cyber-focused OTA called C-RAPID that it hopes will be able to accomplish the acquisition process for any particular prototype project within just 30 days.

But the government’s use of OTA structures has expanded dramatically since Congress broadened DoD’s authority to use OTAs as part of the 2016 Defense authorization bill. There are now at least 19 OTA consortia across the federal government, according to a tally maintained by Bloomberg Government.

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