Office of Research & Technology Applications (ORTA)
USTRANSCOM Technology Transfer (T2) Activities
USTRANSCOM utilizes T2 authorities, the same used by Federal Laboratories, to form research partnerships on a wide range of specific topics with academia and industry. These partnerships are often in the form of Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs). CRADA partnerships with experts help USTRANSCOM understand the utility and risks of applying new technologies and techniques to its DOD supply chain and transportation management functions, while providing the Collaborator an opportunity to understand future government interests and chances to exercise a new technology or technique with government experts in a robust, realistic user environment.
Technology Transfer opportunities with USTRANSCOM are advertised in Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) at https://www.fbo.gov/, use keywords "USTRANSCOM", "ORTA" or "CRADA".
Point of Contact
In addition to FBO announcements,Technology Transfer procedures allow the non-Federal parties to initiate first contact with USTRANSCOM. To initiate a Technology Transfer discussion, contact the ORTA via Mr. Mark Surina, MITRE Corporation, USTRANSCOM Office of Research and Technology Applications at the following address and/or e-mail:
508 Scott Drive
Scott AFB, IL 62225-5357
What is an ORTA and What is Its Role?The USTRANSCOM ORTA facilitates and guides all T2 activities across USTRANSCOM. T2 authority provides USTRANSCOM with capability to enter into technology exploration partnerships with non-federal entities; one, or many. The ORTA works as the principal staff arm of the USTRANSCOM Laboratory Director, a responsibility of the USTRANSCOM Deputy Commander.
What is the Nature of USTRANSCOM T2 Activities?The principal mechanism of T2-based collaboration in USTRANSCOM is the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), which is governed by Title 15 United States Code, Section 3710a.
T2 agreements, including CRADAs, are voluntary for both the federal and non-federal entity (the latter is known as the "Collaborator"). While the government may seek one or more Collaborators, or a Collaborator may initiate the dialogue with the government seeking a CRADA, neither party is compelled to enter into or remain in a T2 agreement.
CRADAs in USTRANSCOM are utilized to explore and mature concepts, techniques, and technologies to allow the government to better understand the feasibility and risks of these capabilities for the future. CRADAs are not substitutes or precursors for acquisition or procurement. Instead, CRADAs are methods of experimentation, in a Public-Private Partnership mode, influenced by or actually conducted in the DOD environment, to better understand future operating concepts and their enabling technologies, techniques and business cases, and to better understand the implications and risks of emerging technologies as well as procedures which are new to the DOD.
Inventions or innovations jointly produced by the collaboration are jointly owned by both USTRANSCOM and the Collaborator as described in the intellectual property provisions of the specific T2 agreement.
CRADAs are not subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and cannot result in payment of Federal funds to the Collaborator, but nearly any other government resource can be provided, as negotiated. The Collaborator can provide any resource including funds (potentially to cover costs of use of government facilities), though USTRANSCOM seldom expects revenues from its CRADA partners for concept development work. The Collaborator must find adequate motivation and return on investment from the teamed effort which the CRADA enables; the government typically provides access to information systems, data, physical infrastructure, test agencies, and subject matter expertise, as documented in the terms of the CRADA's Joint Work Plan, as its contribution to the partnership. The Collaborator gains from exposure and exercise of proprietary material and concepts in the demanding DOD environment, which encourages maturation of the technology or technique.
CRADAs are typically 1-2 years in duration, with well-defined and limited research objectives. Constraining CRADAs in this manner assists both the Collaborator and the government to plan for and commit the right resources to the mutual development work. USTRANSCOM and the Collaborators appoint their own "Principal Investigators" (i.e., project managers) to lead the experimental efforts and exercise the collaboration.
A typical outcome of a CRADA is a report on the results of the experimentation, a prototypical application of the technology, and enhanced government ability to articulate the boundaries of its future capabilities. Intellectual property produced is identified, inventoried, and archived with agreement on government and Collaborator use rights. The Collaborator gains a more mature product or technique and an understanding of the potential future customer of the capability. CRADAs provide protection of intellectual property (IP) to the Collaborator and government. CRADA information is protected from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for up to five years.
How do We Begin T2 Activities?The ORTA, listed above, is the point of contact for external parties for initiation of T2 discussions. The ORTA will work with the potential external Collaborator and the pertinent functional USTRANSCOM technical experts and staff to determine mutual interest in establishing a T2 agreement. Terms of the agreement are determined by dialogue beteen USTRANSCOM and the Collaborator. An initial whitepaper submittal typically starts the dialogue; the CRADA's terms are decided by discussions between USTRANSCOM and the Collaborator (or Collaborators in some cases). The ORTA works closely with the command's Intellectual Property attorneys to properly articulate the agreement at the start and during the actual conduct of the agreement to answer the questions of all parties on legal details and issues.
Sometimes USTRANSCOM will seek multiple CRADA Collaborators to independently work under CRADAs on similar challenges. This independent work on a common topic, and resulting proprietary materials or concepts, further expands the government's understanding of the feasibility and risks of new technologies based on independent innovative approaches, while each collaborator's intellectual property is segregated and protected from potential competitors in future acquisition activities, if they take place.
USTRANSCOM's Laboratory Director for Technology Transfer and signatory for T2 agreements is the Deputy Commander, a 3-star military officer. The ORTA, working with the Principal Investigators, coordinates the draft agreement through the USTRANSCOM staff as necessary before signature. This staffing process ensures that the intended experimentation and partnership does not adversely impact any ongoing or planned competitive acquisition efforts.