Acquisition

Pandemic response drives DOD's sharp uptick in OTA spending

DOD photo by Senior Airman Perry Aston  11th Wing Public Affairs 

The Defense Department issued an unprecedented $16 billion in other transaction agreements in 2020, half of which was dedicated to its response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Defense Pricing and Contracting Agency annual report.

DOD's use of OTA's more than doubled from $7.4 billion in 2019 to $16.3 billion in 2020 -- $7.7 billion related to COVID-19, according to the report released Jan. 28.

Other transaction agreements are a relatively new authority that allows for faster acquisitions and are typically used to attract startups and non-traditional companies to do business with DOD. Just six years ago, in 2015, DPC issued $620 million in other transaction agreements.

Despite the increased spending with OTAs, DOD reports having fewer contract actions last year for the military services and Defense Logistics Agency compared to 2019. According to the report, contract actions dropped 8%, with an 9% increase in contract obligations. Military services alone saw a bigger jump in contract obligations at 11% and a smaller dip in contract actions at 4%.

The agency's report also spotlighted a purported reduction in Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation at 11%, while also publishing more than 82 revisions for issues including cybersecurity, services, acquisition and supply chain risk.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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