By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs
NEWPORT, RI — Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport today announced a three-year landmark agreement with the Undersea Technology Innovation Consortium (UTIC) of Middletown, R.I., to provide cutting-edge undersea and maritime technologies. The agreement provides the Navy with Other Transaction Authority (OTA) designed to make delivery of these technologies and related prototypes faster and more efficient than traditional federal acquisition requirements might normally permit.
NUWC Newport Commanding Officer Michael Coughlin was joined by Sen. Jack Reed, Rep. Jim Langevin and UTIC Executive Director Molly Donahue Magee in making the announcement at a media event at NUWC.
“This will streamline priorities,” said Reed, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee. “We’ve got to be quicker, faster and tap into small business innovation. This arrangement will allow this.”
“There is no better place to do this than in Rhode Island,” said Langevin, a senior member of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees. “The state is widely known for our excellence in the development of maritime and undersea technologies. This agreement will make the process more efficient and reliable.”
UTIC has estimated that the agreement may provide a minimum of $20 million to be distributed annually to technology companies through the management firm Advanced Technology International.
Langevin and Reed commended NUWC and UTIC for facilitating the collaboration and cooperation necessary to ensure Rhode Island remains well positioned to develop the next generation of undersea technologies. This award establishes the state as the Department of Defense (DoD) focal point for undersea and maritime technology innovation with particular focus on undersea vehicles, sensors and sonars, payloads, communications, electronic warfare and applicable enabling technologies such as quantum computing and advanced materials.
The Other Transaction Authority (OTA) three-year agreement allows for extensions on options for up to 10 years to engage industry and academia for a broad range of prototyping activities. OTAs allow for much greater speed, flexibility and accessibility in performing prototyping activities as they are not standard procurement contracts, grants or cooperative agreements and are generally not subject to all the federal laws and regulations that apply to government procurement contracts. Their core purpose is to accelerate access to, and adoption by, certain select agencies within government. An OTA grants access to innovative technologies from companies that otherwise would have no interest in dealing with the complexities of a standard procurement relationship with the government.
As a team, UTIC and ATI, will manage the OTA through a strong and innovative technology consortium, said Molly Donohue Magee, executive director of UTIC and the Southeastern New England Defense Industry. Headquartered in Middletown, the consortium-based model welcomes participation by organizations – both traditional and non-traditional – who have technologies that can contribute to undersea and maritime domain applications.
“We invite all companies large and small to join us to be a part of our consortium team,” Magee said.
Any commercial, nonprofit or academic institution that is part of the consortium is eligible to receive an OTA award. The process is that government customers issue a call for whitepapers to the consortium. The government may then select a small number of companies to submit a more formal proposal. Ultimately, the government selects one or more awardees and delivers funding to the selected consortium member(s) –through the consortium management organization. The government may also propose new relationships between consortium members without resoliciting white papers or proposals from the entire consortium.
The ultimate goal is to deliver the needed innovative solutions to the men and women of our armed forces via a faster process.
“It takes several years to develop, qualify and field state-of-the-art weapon system technologies and even more for new undersea systems” said Coughlin. “Often, by the time a technology is ready for fielding, the original requirement or threat has changed. This joint effort recognizes the challenge and has embraced this innovative process that facilitates better communication and collaboration while most importantly delivering needed capability faster. This collaboration will ensure undersea superiority for our Navy!”