Specialists in Other Transactions (OTs) met in San Diego, CA August 13-15, 2019 for a series of panel discussions regarding Defense Contracting Pricing (DCP) practices. The conference consisted of four main panels: pros and cons of consortia, implementing cybersecurity in OTs, performers speaking on their experience, and OT authority. The conference was organized by DAU’s Diane Sidebottom, Learning Director for Other Transactions and Grants.
Other Transactions is a “unique form of government contracting,” Sidebottom expressed.
This uniqueness was the primary motive behind the DCP OT San Diego conference. With only 50 people in attendance and presenting (all of whom were government employees and fellow OT gurus), the atmosphere provided a rare opportunity for everyone to come together in one space and indulge in an open discourse. The setting also provided a chance for representatives to learn how to overcome certain OT challenges in an area where there’s no rulebook.
“We don’t share enough across the federal government what we’re doing,” Sidebottom said. “One of the big goals of OTs is to try to attract new people and help with the speed of acquisition.”
One way Sidebottom was able to execute this was by including a senior leader discussion section, comprised of policy leaders from each military service. By including these discussions, OTs were able to connect with people they might otherwise not be able to reach outside of an organized setting.
According to Sidebottom, “The major objective of OTs is to really try to reach out to performers, who ordinarily would not deal with us … and work with them on the same playing field that they work on in their normal field … It is a very different way of doing business from what we’re used to doing.”
When she’s not organizing conferences, Sidebottom spends her time consulting on OTs and developing workshops that teache workforce members how to use OT authorities. This fiscal year alone, she’s taught 22 workshops. Ultimately, Sidebottom wants to encourage the Defense Acquisition Workforce to embrace change and flexibility.
“The impact OTs are having can be tremendous in some cases,” Sidebottom commented, on a final note. “Because OTs are intended to target non-traditional performers and solutions and draw them into the defense industrial base, organizations are getting more competition and getting access to solutions that may have been previously unknown to use. OTs can give us access to cutting-edge technological solutions that might not otherwise be available to DoD. Because OTs are regulation driven, their use requires our workforce to become critical thinkers and embrace the concepts of collaboration and negotiation in a way we don't generally see under the traditional procurement process. OTs are another acquisition tool that we can utilize in the right circumstances to get the best solutions for the warfighter.”
[RELATED CONTENT: An Introduction to the New DoD Guide on Other Transactions]
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