DoD guidance states that its personnel should not use specific templates for designing OTAs. The intent is for the Government to structure business arrangements that are most appropriate for each specific scenario. Yet, there are OTA structures that have been effectively demonstrated and can be replicated. One such structure was developed by the Army and involves the establishment of consortia of companies interested in working with the Government within a given subject area. These so-called “OTA Consortia” have existed for more than a decade and have cumulatively resulted in the award of over $1B for prototype development.
While there are several variants between OTA Consortia, the general premise is that the Government executes an OTA not with a single entity but an organized group of entities that agree to participate under a common rule set. The consortia are typically represented by a management organization to address administrative needs and manage the flow of information between parties. Consortia are designed to minimize barriers for new companies to participate and are often focused on broadening competition among “non-traditional defense contractors.”
Once established, the Government solicits proposals for specific prototyping projects to the pertinent OTA consortium. Only members of the pertinent consortium may compete for Government awards, and each member may compete individually or as part of a team consisting of other consortium members. Ultimately, the Government selects one or more awardees and delivers funding to the selected consortium member(s) – typically through the consortium management organization. The Government may also propose new relationships between consortium members without having to re-solicit proposals from the entire consortium. The OTA Consortium model provides tremendous flexibility, speed, and access to the broadest possible pool of prospective vendors. The typical duration from the time of releasing a solicitation to issuing an award can be less than two months.
The OTA Consortium model is increasingly popular. At least four new consortia are scheduled to be created in Fiscal Year 2017 alone, including opportunities from the Air Force (USAF), Army, and Special Operations Command (SOCOM). Wōden intends to compete to be the management entity for multiple OTA Consortium programs and is building a cadre of consortium members who are interested in accessing Government awards through these acquisition vehicles. Rather than implementing member agreements for each OTA Consortium opportunity, the Wōden Consortium Membership Agreement establishes the general terms and conditions that will be applicable to all future opportunities. There is no cost to join the Wōden Consortium, and there are no annual dues. Becoming a Member opens the door to pursuing exclusive Government-funded projects and providing feedback to Wōden as opportunities arise.