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From the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics:
The Department now has a new approach to rapidly meet warfighter requirements that can result in awards for prototype solutions within a timeline of 60 days or less. This approach is called a Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO), and it is available throughout the Department. This rapid acquisition source selection approach is a merit-based solicitation and source selection procedure that can be used to acquire emerging technology, particularly from non-traditional commercial sources, beginning with prototypes acquired under an Other Transaction Authority (OTA). The concept is similar to that of broad agency announcements (BAAs), which are used by the science and technology community to acquire to basic and applied research. CSOs use merit based selection approaches to address a particular problem the Department needs to solve. Currently under CSOs, DoD organizations with OTA authority can acquire prototypes based on innovative technologies that are maturing into commercial applications. For example, Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), with support from the Army, has employed CSOs to award other transaction agreements (OTAs) for prototype projects.
CSOs are already proving to be a means to access technology in a more streamlined manner. The application is
currently limited, however, to opportunities where we have the authority to acquire prototypes using an OTA. CSOs
were authorized in the FY2016 NDAA as part of the on-going efforts to improve our acquisition process and increase
access to new technology. We have now requested a legislative change to pilot an expansion of this authority to also
award FAR-based contracts for state of the art emerging solutions using the CSO approach. We are hopeful that this
expanded CSO pilot authority will be enacted into law in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act and that we will
be able to extend the application of CSOs.
CSOs are just one of the many tools that we have to rapidly meet our needs. I encourage all acquisition professionals
to familiarize themselves with the range of methods available and to apply the right tool for the right job. Anyone
interested in learning more about using CSOs to acquire prototypes, are encouraged to contact DPAP at