Why Are So Many People Talking about OTAs?
Other Transactions Authority allows for the creation of a variety of legally binding instruments between the government and private sector businesses or universities that are not subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulations. These Other Transactions allow the federal government to obtain research and development and prototypes from leading-edge organizations that may not otherwise be available. Other Transactions (OT) authority has been granted to several agencies by Congress and offers an alternative to the prescriptive regulations of contracts, Grants, and Cooperative Agreements.
OT Authority was first granted to NASA in 1958. Since that time Congress has extended OT Authority to the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Energy and the Transportation Security Administration. In addition, other departments ad agencies may use OT Authority under certain circumstances and if authorized by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Each department or agency that has been granted other transactions authority has slightly different conditions under which the OT authority may actually be used. In addition, each authority is subject to change based on the outcome of Congress’ yearly appropriations process.