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Commercial Off-the-Shelf Products and Commercial Services

The Commercial-Off-the-Shelf (COTS) and Commercial Services Community of Practice was created to disseminate information to Defense Acquisition Workforce personnel engaged in the acquisition of innovative, cutting-edge commercial technologies. This site is intended to address those areas of technology where the commercial market place is moving faster than the normal acquisition timeline for complex weapon systems, and for which alternative methods of acquiring these technologies is necessary. Examples of these technologies include information technology, micro-electronics, some sensor technologies, some radio frequency devices and some software products. Acquisition of these technologies requires innovative solutions.

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Feed / Commercial Off-the-Shelf Products and Commercial Services

Advanced Nuclear Power for Installations (ANPI)
View Announcement

Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) from Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) for energy resilience.   In addition to the mission need, an objective of ANPI is to stimulate micro reactor development in the U.S.

Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies (APFIT)
View Announcement

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) announced the next round of projects to receive funding via the pilot program to Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies (APFIT). This is the second tranche of projects to be selected during Fiscal Year 2024, and the first tranche awarded after the Department received a full appropriation for FY 2024.

The U.S. Congress funded $100 million for APFIT in FY 2022, $150 million in FY 2023, and $300 million in FY 2024. In the past two years, twenty-one DoD programs were selected to receive APFIT funding to procure innovative technologies from these small businesses and nontraditional defense contractors. The APFIT program expects to award up to 19 total projects in FY 2024, with four awards previously announced in February. The 13 projects awarded in this tranche are:

  • Communications Mobile Gateway Buoy, $12.940M, U.S. Navy
  • Family of Systems for Assured Movement and Maneuver, $15.950, U.S. Transportation Command via U.S. Army
  • Gladius Micro-High-Altitude Balloon Deployed Glider, $10.000M, U.S. Army
  • High Efficiency Phase Modulator, $11.000M, Missile Defense Agency
  • Installation Resilience Operations Command and Control, $20.000M, U.S. Air Force
  • Majestic Alpha, $18.500M, U.S. European Command and U.S. Special Operations Command
  • Project 711: Containerized Secure Units, $15.200M, U.S. Marine Corps
  • Classified, $13.650M, U.S. Special Operations Command
  • Rack Mounted Optical Clocks, $22.000M, DARPA and multiple Services
  • Radome Operational Performance Evaluation, $10.000M, U.S. Air Force
  • Reducible Height Gunner Protection Kit, $19.721M, U.S. Marine Corps
  • Resilient Networking for Space Domain Awareness, $15.375M, U.S. Space Force
  • Ultra Long Endurance - Perpetual, $20.406M, U.S. Army
Podcasts
View Resource

Welcome to our collection of Podcasts. 

 

HDIAC_Logo.PNGThe Homeland Defense & Security Information Analysis Center (HDIAC) Podcast Page features discussions with Subject Matter Experts on emerging topics in the fields of Alternative energy, Biometrics, CBRN Defense, Cultural Studies, Critical Infrastructure Protection, Homeland Defense & Security, Medical, and Weapons of Mass Destruction. Training, One-on-one, and round-table discussions are held to provide insight into highly technical topics and increase user awareness.

 

 

Voices from DARPA Podcast Series

“Voices from DARPA” Podcast


Discussions with DTRA Podcast



 

Discussions / Commercial Off-the-Shelf Products and Commercial Services

DARPA AI Cyber Challenge
0 Replies
View Discussion
August 10, 2023 - 09:40am
QUESTION
At Black Hat USA 2023, DARPA issued a call to top computer scientists, AI experts, software developers, and beyond to participate in the AI Cyber Challenge (AIxCC) – a two-year competition aimed at driving innovation at the nexus of AI and cybersecurity to create a new generation of cybersecurity tools.

AIxCC will allow two tracks for participation: the Funded Track and the Open Track. Funded Track competitors will be selected from proposals submitted to a Small Business Innovation Research solicitation. Up to seven small businesses will receive funding to participate. Open Track competitors will register with DARPA via the competition website and will proceed without DARPA funding.



SCENARIO
COMMENTS
COTS Industry Forums and Information Exchanges
2 Replies
View Discussion
February 22, 2023 - 01:58pm
QUESTION

​Looking to identify forums where information is exchanged between industry regarding COTS.  My focus is on Spectrum Dependent Systems. Appriciate any input you may have.

                                                                                                   The following is what I have already identified;

1.  IEEE.org

     1a.  Communications Society

     1b.  Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society

     1c.   Antennas and Propagation Society                                                                                                                                2.  Microwaves & RF (mwrf.com)

3.  National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)




SCENARIO
COMMENTS
Content Author… August 10, 2023 - 09:45am
Suggest exploring the DODIAC (Information Analysis Centers) and what's available through DTIC as well their Defense Innovation Marketplace.  Also check out the TIMs (Tech Interchange Meetings between DoD and industry/academia)


Watson, Maryann October 30, 2023 - 05:58pm

DTIC's CoIs maybe of interest. There is one on systems that leverage the spectrum for EW uses, https://defenseinnovationmarketplace.dtic.mil/communities-of-interest/electronic-warfare/

Also, Association of Old Crows (AOC) is a relevant trade assoc for providers of spectrum dependent systems, and a good resource for EMSO topics in general. They have a product showcase that is useful for market research for govt folks in acquisition, and for industry providers to find partners/collaborators:  AOC Product Showcase (crows.org)

Audit of DoD Other Transactions
0 Replies
View Discussion
September 13, 2022 - 08:15am
QUESTION

​The DoD Inspector General released it Report No. DoDIG-2022-127 on September 8, 2022.  [NOTE:  open the announcement to access the link]

The objective of the audit was to determine whether the DoD awarded Other Transactions (OT) for prototypes in accordance with applicable Federal laws and DoD policies.


The findings included:  

Although DoD agreement officers awarded OTs for prototypes in accordance with the statute, additional OT policies are needed. The audit found agreement officers did
not always:
• verify the status of nontraditional defense contractors (NDC) because there is no requirement for agreement officers to do so;
• validate NDCs participating in prototype awards to a significant extent actually completed the significant work because there is no requirement for the agreement officers to validate the work performed by the NDC throughout the project; or
• approve costs incurred prior to award or appropriately award resource share OTs because the agreement officers did not comply with the U.S.C. and compliance with the OT Guide is not a requirement.

The DoD takes on more risk when it uses OTs to get participation from NDCs. However, without validating NDC status, conducting appropriate oversight to ensure the NDC performs the requirements of the OT agreement as proposed, or validating resource share contributions, agreement personnel may not meet the conditions of the statute, the Government may be paying more than the amount required in the resource share agreement, and traditional contractors may obtain an OT for which they were ineligible.



SCENARIO
COMMENTS

Events / Commercial Off-the-Shelf Products and Commercial Services

No content available.

Announcements / Commercial Off-the-Shelf Products and Commercial Services

Advanced Nuclear Power for Installations (ANPI)
View Announcement

Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) from Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) for energy resilience.   In addition to the mission need, an objective of ANPI is to stimulate micro reactor development in the U.S.

Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies (APFIT)
View Announcement

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) announced the next round of projects to receive funding via the pilot program to Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies (APFIT). This is the second tranche of projects to be selected during Fiscal Year 2024, and the first tranche awarded after the Department received a full appropriation for FY 2024.

The U.S. Congress funded $100 million for APFIT in FY 2022, $150 million in FY 2023, and $300 million in FY 2024. In the past two years, twenty-one DoD programs were selected to receive APFIT funding to procure innovative technologies from these small businesses and nontraditional defense contractors. The APFIT program expects to award up to 19 total projects in FY 2024, with four awards previously announced in February. The 13 projects awarded in this tranche are:

  • Communications Mobile Gateway Buoy, $12.940M, U.S. Navy
  • Family of Systems for Assured Movement and Maneuver, $15.950, U.S. Transportation Command via U.S. Army
  • Gladius Micro-High-Altitude Balloon Deployed Glider, $10.000M, U.S. Army
  • High Efficiency Phase Modulator, $11.000M, Missile Defense Agency
  • Installation Resilience Operations Command and Control, $20.000M, U.S. Air Force
  • Majestic Alpha, $18.500M, U.S. European Command and U.S. Special Operations Command
  • Project 711: Containerized Secure Units, $15.200M, U.S. Marine Corps
  • Classified, $13.650M, U.S. Special Operations Command
  • Rack Mounted Optical Clocks, $22.000M, DARPA and multiple Services
  • Radome Operational Performance Evaluation, $10.000M, U.S. Air Force
  • Reducible Height Gunner Protection Kit, $19.721M, U.S. Marine Corps
  • Resilient Networking for Space Domain Awareness, $15.375M, U.S. Space Force
  • Ultra Long Endurance - Perpetual, $20.406M, U.S. Army
National Defense Industrial Strategy (NDIS) Enabling a Modernized Defense Industrial Ecosystem
View Announcement

The NDIS lays out four long-term strategic priorities to serve as guiding beacons for industrial action and resource prioritization in support of the development of this modernized defense industrial ecosystem. 

  • Resilient supply chains that can securely produce the products, services, and technologies needed now and in the future at speed, scale, and cost.
  • Workforce readiness will provide for a sufficiently skilled, and staffed workforce that is diverse and representative of America.
  • Flexible acquisition will lead to the development of strategies that strive for dynamic capabilities while balancing efficiency, maintainability, customization and standardization in defense platforms and support systems. Flexible acquisition strategies would result in reduced development times, reduced costs, and increased scalability.
  • Economic deterrence will promote fair and effective market mechanisms that support a resilient defense industrial ecosystem among the U.S. and close international allies and partners and economic security and integrated deterrence. As a result of effective economic deterrence, fear of materially reduced access to U.S. markets, technologies, and innovations will sow doubt in the mind of potential aggressors.
National Defense Industrial Strategy (NDIS)
M-20-28 Buying for America
View Announcement

The first consideration in the recently published Office of Management and Budget (OMB) M-20-28 is to "Take full advantage of acquisition flexibilities and innovation tools."  The new cross-agency priority goal (CAP Goal) is "frictionless acquisition."  Here's where you can find out more about the resources available, including Acquisition Innovation Hub, Periodic Table of Acquisition Innovation, TechFAR Handbook, Case Studies, and Frictionless Acquisition Resources Collection (see https://www.performance.gov/CAP/frictionless-acquisition/).​

DIUx Video
View Announcement

video on DIUx available on YouTube.  You will have to scroll down to find DIU videos.

GAO-23-106059 Weapon Systems Annual Assessment
View Announcement

​GAO-23-106059 What GAO Found. DoD continues to face challenges quickly developing innovative new weapons. These challenges persist even with recent reforms to its acquisition process intended to help deliver systems to the warfighter in a timelier manner.

This report assesses the characteristics and performance of 101 of DOD's costliest weapon programs (75 major defense acquisition programs, 19 MTA programs, and 7 future major weapon acquisitions); and selected programs' implementation of leading acquisition practices and principles, modern software development approaches, and cybersecurity practices.
DoD Data Strategy. Watch for Artificial Intelligence Data Accelerator (AIDA)
View Announcement

The JAIC has lauched a new AI accelerator, AIDA.  The AIDA Initiative is the AI and Data Accelerator Initiative; initially teams will go out to all combatant commands and start to tie in their data.

Learn more about the DoD Data Strategy.

National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI)
View Announcement

​The NSCAI was formed:  1) To consider the methods and means necessary to advance the development of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and associated technologies to comprehensively address the national security and defense needs of the United States. 2) Submit to the President and Congress reports on the findings of the Commission and such recommendations that the Commission may have for action by the executive branch and Congress related to artificial intelligence, machine learning, and associated technologies, including recommendations to more effectively organize the Federal Government.  A video and the final report are available on the NAICS.gov website.  

Resources / Commercial Off-the-Shelf Products and Commercial Services

Podcasts

Welcome to our collection of Podcasts. 

 

HDIAC_Logo.PNGThe Homeland Defense & Security Information Analysis Center (HDIAC) Podcast Page features discussions with Subject Matter Experts on emerging topics in the fields of Alternative energy, Biometrics, CBRN Defense, Cultural Studies, Critical Infrastructure Protection, Homeland Defense & Security, Medical, and Weapons of Mass Destruction. Training, One-on-one, and round-table discussions are held to provide insight into highly technical topics and increase user awareness.

 

 

Voices from DARPA Podcast Series

“Voices from DARPA” Podcast


Discussions with DTRA Podcast



 

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ACQuipedia Articles

This list is a sample of what's available on ACQuipedia that's related to Commercial Off-the-Shelf products and services

Analysis of Alternatives (AoA)

Commercial Contracting

Commercial Item Group (CIG)

Defense Exportability Features Initiative (DEF initiative)

International Acquisition and Exportability (IA&E)

Market Research

Services Acquisition

Value Analysis

 

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Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy
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Information Analysis Centers

This section includes information on the DoD Information Analysis Centers (IACs) applicable to the acquisition of Commercial Off-the-Shelf Products and Commercial Services.

DoD Information Analysis Centers are an essential tool for discovering and delivering superior warfighting capabilities through comprehensive scientific and technical research, analysis, and creative mechanisms to recruit non-traditional researchers, engineers, scientists, and program managers to solve the most challenging technical problems. With more than 600 technical area tasks (TATs), the DoD IACs currently support all three military services, OSD, labs, civilian agencies and all nine combatant Commands (COCOMs). The DoD IACs serve the needs of the warfighter by bringing the "Think Tank" to the Battlespace.

IACs support the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ASD) for Research and Engineering (R&E) in carrying out the R&E community's three strategic guiding imperatives:

  • Mitigate new and emerging adversary threats that could degrade U.S. (and allied) capabilities;
  • Enable affordable new or extended capabilities in existing military systems; and
  • Develop technology surprise through science and engineering applications to military problems.

Ongoing Initiatives:

Technology Domain Awareness (TDA) is an initiative to better understand the technology landscape as it relates to defense needs. It is a Defense innovation business process based on shared technology information and related operational concepts and lessons learned to support better technology decision-making. The IACs’ TDA initiative is building an expanded Defense technology innovation community of practice that incorporates DoD stakeholders, traditional defense industry, the start-up and venture capital communities, and the academic research community. It employs a combination of incentives, information, shared infrastructure, and services to:

  1.  Facilitate the rapid identification of defense-relevant technology opportunities and challenges,
  2. Enable collaborative development and prototyping activities,
  3. Develop a learning context for defense technology innovation, and
  4. Link and scale distributed innovation efforts to enhance transition and address DOD-wide learning objectives.

In January 2015, as part of a TDA pilot deployment authorized by ASD(R&E), the IACs awarded a $100M Other Transaction Authority (OTA) contract to the National Security Technology Accelerator Consortium (NSTXL) to identify, vet, and prototype innovative energy technologies for reuse to address military needs. NSTXL is a non-profit, membership-based consortium consisting of over four hundred businesses, universities, and research laboratories, incubators and investors. It provides unique resources and services, including a database of over 250,000 technology providers and experts, for engaging the non-traditional high tech community (I.e., R&D businesses and organizations that do not ordinarily transact business with DOD) to prototype advanced energy technologies for Defense applications. Additionally, the NSTXL’s Technology Challenge program provides DoD access to vetted technologies aimed at addressing specific needs.

Additional information on NSTXL can be found at www.nstxl.org.

For more information about IACs go to http://iac.dtic.mil/tda.html.

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Consortiums and Other Transaction Authority Vehicles

This section includes links to websites that contain information on Other Transaction Authority vehicles applicable to the acquisition of Commercial Off-the-Shelf Products and Commercial Services.

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Publications and Articles

Click on any of the magazine/publication logos below to read more about Better Buying Power.

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Resources and Training

This section includes resources and training applicable to the acquisition of Commercial Off-the-Shelf Products and Commercial Services.

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Policy and Guidance

This section includes laws, regulations, policy and guidance applicable to the acquisition of Commercial Off-the-Shelf Products and Commercial Services.

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Documents / Commercial Off-the-Shelf Products and Commercial Services

Other Transactions Guide v. 2.0
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Other Transactions Guide, OUSD(A&S) July 2023, version 2.0. This guide introduces all three types of OT agreements: research, prototype, and production.

DoD Guidebook for Acquiring Commercial Items Part A: Commercial Item Determination
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This guide is written for anyone seeking additional understanding on commercial items—the definition, the determination, and how to price them.

DoD Guidebook for Acquiring Commercial Items Part B: Pricing Commercial Items
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Commercial items are not subject to the Truthful Cost or Pricing Data Act, formerly known as TINA, because the commercial marketplace is presumed to be a competitive environment and should drive a fair and reasonable price. When determining a fair and reasonable price, market research should be conducted in order to compare the proposed price to comparable market pricing. Determining a fair and reasonable price is usually a more straight-forward process when acquiring commercially available off- the-shelf (COTS) items. One the other hand, determining a fair and reasonable price is challenging when the commercial market does not exist for a specific item or when market price data is not readily available.

FAR Part 35, R and D Contracting
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FAR Part 35, Research and Development Contracting

DOD DIRECTIVE 5105.85 DIU
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Change 1, November 23, 2018 • Establishes the mission, organization and management, responsibilities and functions, relationships, authorities, and administration of DIU. • Establishes an internal governance council, the DIU Technology Review Group, to oversee the activities of DIU.

Innovation in the Defense Acquisition Enterprise
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In this article in the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of the ARJ, the Honorable Frank Kendall discusses innovation  and what that means in the context of BBP 3.0. This article contains a discussion of the ingredients necessary to foster and encourage innovation in the Defense Acquisition Enterprise -- knowledge, freedom, acceptance of risk, and persistence. Reference Link: Innovation in the Defense Acquisition Enterprise (http://dau.dodlive.mil/2015/10/14/innovation-in-the-defense-acquisition-enterprise/)

Center for Energy, Environment, and Demilitarization CEED
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CEED, recognizing and capitalizing upon the unique synergies that exist among energy, environmental and demilitarization technology businesses, was formed under the authority of the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993 for the purpose of promoting innovation and collaboration among industry academia and the Government. CEED is a non-profit corporation, comprising traditional and non-traditional members in industry and academia, offering a route to simplify and improve Government access to emerging technologies. The Consortium is registered with the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to limit anti-trust liabilities. Through its partnership with the Government’s Federal Center for Energy, Environment and Demilitarization (FCEED), CEED is able to offer its members an innovative acquisition mechanism for research, development, test and evaluation and prototype development of new technologies and products that advance the Federal Government’s capabilities in Energy, Environment and Demilitarization. For more information, go to http://ceed-ota.org/

Grants White Paper
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Although BBP 3.0 does not specifically consider using grants within the focus area "Incentivize Productivity In Industry And Government," grants are a viable method of providing assistance for research projects to support public policy.  Grants are not a substitute for procurement contracts.  This paper provides information on the definition, policy, and proper use of grants, statutory and regulatory references, and DAU and other training and resources.

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