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SPAWAR launching alternative contracting process

Staff Report //February 5, 2018//

SPAWAR launching alternative contracting process

Staff Report //February 5, 2018//

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Space and Naval Warfare System Centers Atlantic has launched a new program that will be an alternative to the traditional acquisition process.

The Information Warfare Research Project is meant to encourage nontraditional companies and academia to participate in Department of Defense contracting.

Under this process, a third-party firm or institution will manage a consortium of traditional and nontraditional contractors who can prototype work in specified technology areas; consortium members will then compete for individual projects by submitting proposals in response to SPAWAR’s needs.

The Information Warfare Research Project uses the Other Transaction Authority, a provision in the Department of Defense authorization bill that allows for research and development of technologies related to weapons systems outside of traditional contracts, grants and cooperative agreements.

SPAWAR plans to spend approximately $100 million on this venture, and awards for specific projects could begin in the fall, according to a news release.

The new program “will enable research with industry in the information warfare domain and allow us to take research ideas rapidly through prototype and production,” said Bill Deligne, deputy executive director for SPAWAR. “This mechanism is faster and more attuned to getting something quickly that we want today, as opposed to the traditional Federal Acquisition Regulations.”

Deligne said the research project reaches further into the commercial sector than the traditional process to find innovative ideas for SPAWAR and the Department of Defense.

“This is a new way of doing business for us, and we are very excited about it,” Deligne said.

SPAWAR Executive Director Chris Miller told industry leaders last week that he anticipates working with them to improve the research project as it gets off the ground.

“We are truly doing something different and unique here,” he said. “We’ve learned a lot about setting up an OTA (Other Transaction Authority) from other organizations, but we will need your input.”