On February 7, 2018 the Department of Defense (DoD) awarded REAN Cloud a contract valued at up to $950 million to work with defense agencies to migrate existing applications to commercial cloud solutions. The award is of significant relevance to efforts currently underway in connection with the upcoming DoD Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure — or “JEDI” — procurement. However, the award is also important in a broader context in that it was issued as a follow-on production contract to an “other transaction” (OT) prototype agreement awarded on an expedited basis by DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit Experimental organization (DIUx). The award, therefore, reflects DoD’s increased comfort with issuing high-value production contracts following preliminary work with DIUx under OT prototype agreements.
In 2015, DoD founded DIUx to increase its access to technical innovations from nontraditional contractors. Defense contractors’ spend on research and development in the last decade has been adversely impacted by increasing budget cuts, protracted procurement cycles, and numerous government shutdowns. As a result, DoD has both needed and wanted access to cutting-edge technology in the commercial sector, but commercial companies with robust global markets have historically been wary of the significant compliance obligations that come with traditional defense procurements. DIUx is the Department’s attempt to contract with these innovators in a way that mimics the speed and terms of commercial transactions and significantly reduces compliance obligations.
Essential to the success of this approach is the use of OT agreements to govern DIUx transactions. According to recent congressional testimony, since it was established, DIUx has awarded 61 OT agreements totaling $145 million and averaging only 78 days from initial contact with a potential partner to signing an agreement. And, beginning in September of last year, DoD has followed some of those DIUx awards with follow-on production contracts. In addition to the recent $950 million award to REAN, DIUx has awarded two more production contracts together valued at up to more than $1 billion. Importantly, DoD can issue these high-value follow-on contracts without competition as long as competition was established for an initial DIUx OT award.
Recent efforts, therefore, suggest that DIUx, OT agreements, and follow-on production contracts are here to stay, and potential contractors of all sizes and sophistication should understand how they may impact the competitive landscape.
Keep reading this article at: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/diux-and-dod-other-transaction-prototype-agreements-fast-track-to-dod-funding