A few months ago, I wrote in this space about the startling growth in the use of Other Transactions Authority, or OTA, across the U.S. Defense Department. Indeed, although still a small percentage of the department’s total spend, OTA use grew more than 500 percent between 2012 and 2017. Moreover, changes to the laws governing OTAs have been significant. The advent of “production authority,” which allows the use of OTAs all the way through production/implementation, has also helped drive their relevance and use.
In the end, the core point was and remains that this growth, which is continuing, is more than anything else an unmistakable signal from the military customer, representing that the customer’s frustration with the acquisition system has reached new heights. Fair or not, there is little else to explain the expansion.