By Rita Boland Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO - The Navy’s Command and Control Systems Program Office (PMW 150) began work through its first Other Transaction Authority (OTA) contract in late September, finding a way to save time and money while gaining necessary capability for an effort that has worldwide ramifications.
Through the OTA, PMW 150’s Global Theater Security Cooperation Management Information Systems (G-TSCMIS) program will deliver a cloud-hosted database for the Defense Department to enable coordinated security cooperation across the globe. G-TSCMIS is being developed on behalf of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, or DSCA. PMW 150 is part of the Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I).
“PMW 150’s tenacious effort to get this work awarded through a non-traditional means—in this case an OTA—gets after what we’re trying to accomplish at PEO C4I,” said Rear Adm. Carl “Chebs” Chebi, the program executive officer for PEO C4I. “It strengthens our partnerships with our industry partners as well as our joint-service partners. It delivers necessary capability to the warfighter in a way that’s faster and more affordable so our forces can win tonight. We’re not innovating for innovation’s sake—we’re innovating to give our Sailors and their fighting partners the battlefield advantage.”
The approximately $1.2 million, one-year, firm-fixed-price contract for software development was signed with the company Modus21 through the SOSSEC, Inc.-managed System of Systems Consortium (SOSSEC). The consortium serves to give the military access to non-traditional companies by bringing them together under one umbrella while providing government clients one point of entry. For this effort, PMW 150 worked with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) contracting office located in Rome, N.Y., that administers the OTA contract with SOSSEC. “OTA” is a commonly used term referring to a section of the U.S. Code that gives authority to the Defense Department for particular prototype projects.
“We worked with a couple of our joint partners as we pursued this OTA, and AFRL and SOSSEC were best for what we needed,” said Capt. Allan Walters, program manager of PMW 150. “This effort has been so successful that we’re exploring additional OTAs right now.”
Those additional OTAs include another one for G-TSCMIS and a separate one for work on the Naval Operational Business Logistics Enterprise, or NOBLE.
According to the personnel leading the G-TSCMIS effort, the use of OTAs offered several benefits to this particular project compared to traditional contracting/acquisition. The biggest advantage is the ability to work closely with non-traditional industry partners, exposing the system and program needs to different, innovative companies that normally wouldn’t participate in the bidding process.
The Chief of Staff at DSCA, Anna Nelson, explained that, “The award of this OTA is a successful milestone for PMW 150 and DSCA. In 2017, DSCA challenged PMW 150 to identify a way to develop software in a more accelerated fashion, one that would be able to keep pace with today’s evolving security cooperation needs.”
The OTA made meeting that challenge easier.
Eric Hollenbeck, the assistant program manager for G-TSCMIS, said, “We are making changes, adjusting from developing custom software to using software already developed. The OTA widened the aperture of companies with access to our work and opened the door for us to see more capabilities. We had about 15 companies participate in various phases of the process.
Another benefit is flexibility. Throughout the pre-award phases, G-TSCMIS program personnel could reformat and refine requirements, collaborating with the companies involved to make sure the right capabilities were put on contract. The dialogue and shorter timelines helped ensure contracted work was technically relevant when it began and not made obsolete through delays. In the final stages before award, alterations to requirements were established in two weeks.
With my previous experience awarding contracts, the process for this kind of work could take significantly longer,” said Hollenbeck. “With the OTA, the effort went from receiving responses to our RFI [request for information] to awarding the contract in months.
OTAs streamline many parts of the traditional contracting process. Lessons learned from the G-TSCMIS experience will be applied in the future to expedite additional programs where applicable.
Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I) provides integrated communication and information technology systems that enable information warfare and command and control of maritime forces. PEO C4I acquires, fields and supports C4I systems which extend across Navy, joint and coalition platforms. More information can be found at http://www.public.navy.mil/spawar/PEOC4I/Pages/default.aspx