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NEWS | Feb. 7, 2022

NSWC IHD Holds NEST OTA Collaboration Event

By NSWC Indian Head Division Public Affairs

Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division (NSWC IHD), in conjunction with the National Armament Consortium (NAC), held a Naval Energetic Systems and Technologies (NEST) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) Collaboration Event, Jan. 18-19.

The two-day event featured discussions on topics such as emerging challenges and opportunities, and presented upcoming requirements for prototype projects. NSWC IHD Technical Director Ashley Johnson opened the event and speakers included NAC Executive Director Charles Zisette, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Director of Munitions Jason Jouet, and Joint Enhanced Munitions Program (JEMTP) Program Manager Lawrence Fan. The first day also featured 11 statements of need (SON) briefings while the second day focused on meetings between government technical points of contact and NAC members to discuss individual requirements.

“Going to a non-[Federal Acquisition Regulation] FAR-based approach is extremely beneficial because it affords me a lot of flexibility and offers vendors opportunities and insight into what we’re doing,” said Cartridge Actuated Devices/Propellant Actuated Devices (CAD/PAD) Joint Program Office Director Greg Longworth, who participated in the event. “CAD/PAD is not a big [Acquisition Category] program so it allows me creativity with my funds and allows me to look at projects at a smaller scope. This gives an opportunity for small vendors to come in and take on technical data packages, which opens up the door for competition, ingenuity and creativity…in parallel, I’m also building statements of work from feedback from NEST OTA.”

NSWC IHD received the authority to establish the NEST OTA in 2020, allowing the command to enter into a contract outside the FAR with nontraditional defense contractors. Under a traditional contract assignment, once a Request for Proposal is released, the customer is not permitted to speak with the submitting company. However, OTAs allow the customer to work with companies to discuss making the product better, facilitating partnerships between private industry and the customer.

According to NEST Deputy Program Manager Nina Gonzalez, both Request for Prototype Project (RPP) cycles were successful and shown significant opportunities for organizations to partner with NSWC IHD. The NEST OTA Program Office received 56 SONs with an estimated total project value of $78 million in the first RPP cycle, and they’ve already received an additional 26 SONs during the current second RPP cycle. The January event was the second in a series of collaboration events to promote NEST OTA.

“[NEST OTA] has been very good for the command because it’s a national-level program. The command has gotten very good exposure across the federal government, but more importantly, it also got exposure across industry for potential collaborations and partnering efforts,” said NEST Program Manager Dr. Chris Wilhelm. “Since [the first collaboration event last] August, we’ve had a steady stream of academic and industry interest so that’s been really good. Ms. Gonzalez has done a great job of organizing the program.”

A NEST OTA Collaboration Event focused on JEMTP was held earlier this month and the next event will occur in June. To learn more about NEST, visit www.nacconsortium.org/ota/nest/.

NSWC IHD — a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command and part of the Navy’s Science and Engineering Establishment — is the leader in ordnance, energetics and EOD solutions. The Division focuses on energetics research, development, testing, evaluation, in-service support, manufacturing and disposal; and provides warfighters solutions to detect, locate, access, identify, render safe, recover, exploit and dispose of explosive ordnance threats.