FAR Alternatives on the Rise with Increase in Space and Technology Needs

Recently, Cherissa Tamayori, Director of Acquisition and Senior Contracting Official for the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), joined U.S. military and defense industry experts from around the globe at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference in April 2023 to discuss innovation and adoption in procurement strategies in the Department of Defense (DoD), particularly by leveraging commercial partners.

Tamayori noted a shift across the DoD shift to adopt non-traditional forms of contracting, including the use of other transaction authorities, or OTAs, and the use of the Commercial Solutions Opening - a competitive process that DIU created to solicit and evaluate innovative commercial technologies. 

“While there has been an increase in the use of these non-traditional forms of contracting, there is still room for improvement, said Tamayori. “At DIU, we want to scale our process through partnerships with the PEOs and major buying commands; Partnering with program offices to introduce available commercial market technology to solve their problem sets is really where we can start making an impact on a much larger scale.”

Other Transaction Authority (OTA) contracts are an alternative to traditional FAR contracts. OTA contracts are governed by specific laws and regulations and are used for research and development. They are often used for the procurement of goods and services that are considered innovative and require a high level of technical expertise. Still, their ability to operate outside the typical regulations and requirements for procurement contracts under the FAR, allowing for flexibility in the procurement process, and the ability to enter into contracts with non-traditional contractors such as small businesses and startups makes for a popular choice to seek expansion.

Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) is a competitive process to obtain solutions or new capabilities that fulfill requirements, close capability gaps, or provide potential technological advances in innovative technologies and acquire innovative commercial items, technologies, or services that directly meet program requirements. One appealing feature of a CSO is that the conditions of DFARS 215.371-2 do not apply to the acquisition of innovative items, technologies, or services under a CSO.

You can listen to the talk at, and interested parties can learn more by contacting Maynard Nexsen Government Solutions team members.

  • Brian A. Mills

    Brian is a member of Maynard Nexsen’s Government Solutions Group, a dedicated inter-disciplinary team of legal professionals providing client support and representation before multiple levels of government and at every stage ...


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