WaPo: Seeking an edge over geopolitical rivals, Pentagon exploits an obscure regulatory workaround

October 23, 2019


The Pentagon has been using a loophole to sidestep federal acquisition rules that are typically required when government agencies make large purchases. Using Other Transaction Authority agreements (OTAs), defense agencies are able to use non-traditional defense contracts and purchase weapons/other defense materials quicker. This loophole is being utilized in the hopes that the U.S. military can get ahead of Russia and China in the event an all-out war were to take place. But many fear that the government isn’t always appropriately using OTAs and mixed opinions have been shared regarding their use.

While OTAs are a way around the usual process, a spokesman for the army has said that each agreement is subject to an approval process in which it is determined whether or not conditions are being properly met and the procurement process is appropriate. However, some experts warn that there’s less transparency and assessment with these OTA agreements and that there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about their use. Defense analysts have defended the use of OTAs saying it allows for quicker technological advancement and that it can be more cost-effective than trying to comply with typical federal acquisition rules.

Read the full article here.