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NSWC Crane uses its unique OTA to drive advanced microelectronics technology to the fleet

By NSWC Crane Corporate Communications | Oct. 2, 2019

CRANE, Ind. –Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) recently received its first primary authority from the Department of Navy (DoN) to drive advanced microelectronics technology to the fleet. This Other Transaction Authority (OTA), called Strategic and Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S2MARTS) OTA, conducts prototype projects under 10 USC 2371b. (Prototyping Other Transactions (OTs)).

OTs are legally binding instruments that may be used to engage industry and academia for a broad range of research and prototyping activities. NSWC Crane was the third Navy organization to establish its own OTA vehicle for prototypes.

"This authority signals a new and exciting time for Crane and the DoD concerning Government contracting opportunities," said Jordan Schnarr, NSWC Crane Agreements Officer.  "Our strategy with S2MARTS will increase collaboration with a larger industry base that will produce opportunities for faster, flexible, and more innovative solutions for the warfighter."

Allen Tillerson, an Engineer at NSWC Crane, says this collaborative effort stemmed from a need.

“Technology changes rapidly,” says Tillerson. “In order to serve Strategic Missions and Spectrum Warfare mission areas, NSWC Crane started the process nearly two years ago to enable agile acquisition of critical, state-of-the art technology like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. This allows us to get technology to the fleet while it is still relevant.”

Shaun Davis, a Business Operations Lead at NSWC Crane, says the OTA process allows for flexible and rapid acquisition in order to leverage the latest commercial technology to integrate into the DoD. Specifically, 2371b is used to acquire prototype capabilities for both dual use and defense specific projects.

“The typical Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)-based acquisition process can take twelve months before we see an award,” says Davis. “There are many non-traditional companies, like startups and small businesses that a FAR acquisition process isn’t suited for because they don’t have the manpower or resources. The S2MARTS OTA allows us to make prototypes much quicker so that we can fail early, adapt, and implement more effective and robust technology into military weapons and systems. Effectively using S2MARTS could save an estimated twenty percent.”

NSWC Crane has used OTAs before to transfer cutting-edge technology into military hands, but this has been through using other command’s vehicles. In these instances, there are often funding ceilings included and the owners of the contracting vehicles take a priority.

“With S2MARTS, we don’t have to rely on leveraging another contract,” says Tillerson. “We needed to create our own avenue to ensure our specific mission needs could be met. S2MARTS allows for focuses on the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS), trusted microelectronics, and strategic missions hardware environments.

Bryan Smith, the Office of the Secretary of Defense Task Manager at NSWC Crane, says that the S2MARTS OTA, which is managed by The National Security Technology Accelerator (NSTXL), creates broad opportunities for collaboration with industry, academia, and throughout the DoD. 

“The S2MARTS OTA is also the first in the Navy to have an unlimited dollar ceiling,” says Smith. “This means projects are not constrained by funding other than by congressional mandates. S2MARTS fosters collaboration and can be used as a vehicle by other commands, throughout the Navy, and across the DoD.”

About S2MARTS

The Strategic & Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems, S2MARTS (pronounced “smarts”) is a new OTA (Other Transaction Authority) from NSWC-Crane Division. S2MARTS is designed to refine strategies, management planning activities, and implement integrated, complementary solutions that enable broader DoD access to the commercial state-of-the-art electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) technologies, advanced microelectronics, radiation-hardening and strategic missions’ hardware. This OTA will issue RFPs from across the DoD seeking new solutions to promote U.S. military dominance in EMS, trusted electronics and strategic mission hardware. S2MARTS is an open consortium, meaning that any interested party can view the RFPs but only consortium members can submit proposals. For more information on S2MARTS, including a list of current open opportunities, go to www.s2marts.org.

About NSTXL

The National Security Technology Accelerator (NSTXL) harvests innovative technology from the commercial and non-defense marketplace, ensuring the development of better, cheaper, and faster defense capabilities. NSTXL offers a unique and simplified approach to rapidly develop, demonstrate, and assess prototypes that address a range of operational and installation needs, from individual Warfighter technology up to large-scale installation projects. NSTXL delivers technology to the Warfighter by serving as a one-stop shop to match government requirements with innovative private-sector and academic solutions.

About NSWC Crane

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.