Reaching new prototyping heights with Space Enterprise Consortium Other Transactions

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At the Air Force Innovation Forum in April 2016, Deborah James, former Secretary of the Air Force, identified the need for more rapid acquisition techniques. Specifically, she announced the Open Systems Acquisition approach used by Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate (AFRL/RI) with the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) consortium-managed Other Transactions (OT).

On Oct. 17, 2016 , then-Secretary James announced pursuit of the SpEC OT in order to take advantage of more agile acquisition methods and processes. The announcement was accompanied by the release of the Space and Missile Systems Center Advanced Systems and Development Directorate’s Request for Information to gain knowledge of interested parties to manage the SpEC OT. While developing the plan for this OT, SMC/AD used lessons learned and referenced documents produced by AFRL in their pursuit of developing a similar OT for C4ISR prototype projects.

Identifying and funding prototypes are key to success in keeping pace with commercial innovation and ever evolving threats. In support of the SECAF’s vision, SMC/AD has determined that an OT will enable the rapid and flexible execution of prototypes and access to non-traditional contractors. The SpEC OT that SMC/AD is developing provides flexibility and agility for space prototypes. The OT will be competitively awarded to an eligible new or existing not-for-profit consortium of large and small organizations representing traditional and non-traditional Defense contractors, as well as academic institutions. The mission of the consortium must include performing research, development, test and evaluation within prototyping projects that address Air Force, SMC/AD and DoD requirements for space systems.