Q: What is the DME?

A: The Defense Mobility Enterprise (DME) is a single enterprise of two consortia: an alliance of Government Laboratories and Agencies managed by the Vehicle and Robotics Alliance Program Office (VRA PO) and an Industry/Academic consortium – the National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC). The VRA is managed out of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Land Warfare Munitions and TARDEC, and is open to all Government employees. The NAMC is a nationwide alliance of traditional and nontraditional United States companies and academic institutions: small businesses, large defense contractors, universities/academic institutions, non-profits, and other research organizations involved with the translational research and development of the complete range of prototype, ground vehicle and robotics systems and component technologies. Together, the DME seeks to advance and accelerate the development of manned and unmanned ground vehicles systems and components.

Q: How does the DME work and what is an OTA?

A: On July 1, 2014, the Government entered into a Section 845 Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) with the NAMC, covering a far broader range of ground vehicle and system technologies. Using this Ground Vehicle Systems OTA (GVS OTA), the Government is able to legally engage NAMC members on a competitive but expedited basis to undertake projects to develop, harden, and integrate ground vehicle and robotics technology and produce prototype, manned and unmanned systems. Leveraged as an alternative to FAR-based contracting, the OTA has allowed the Government and NAMC to partner and form the DME, which is responsible for closely coordinating these expedited processes, related tools, and other joint activities.

Q: What is the process?

A: The DME Annual Plan Cycle is as follows:

1) The VRA Program Office develops an annual plan based on its Department of Defense (DoD) customers’ needs. Past research areas have included Architecture, Security, and Modularity (ASM), Autonomy, Mobility, Modeling and Simulation (M&S), Payloads, Petroleum and Water Systems (PAWS), Platform, Powertrain, Survivability, Test and Evaluation (T&E).

2) The VRA Program Office releases a Request for Proposals to NAMC through its Consortium Administrative Organization which in turn releases it to the NAMC members.  Although an announcement is published on Fed Biz Ops to inform the U.S. technology base of the Government’s intent, the RFP is exclusive to the consortium.

3) NAMC members submit White Papers, and if acceptable to the Government, are then invited to submit proposals against the annual plan requirements.  Using preparation guides, a dedicated website, and staff assistance, the NAMC works with its members to ensure their proposals are compliant and complete.

4) Proposals are evaluated by the Government project officers for project understanding, solution and testing feasibility, scheduling, personnel/teaming, cost/price and other factors.

5) Proposals are selected, awards are made, and work begins.

Q: Who is a member of the NAMC?

A: The NAMC is open to any and all traditional and nontraditional, large and small, for-profit companies, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations with ground vehicle and robotics technological capabilities doing business in the United States. The NAMC is not open to Government employees or offices.  You can see the NAMC’s updated membership list by clicking here.  NAMC Members must have a current DD Form 2345, Militarily Critical Technical Data Agreement, Joint Certification.

Q: What is a DD Form 2345, Militarily Critical Technical Data Agreement, Joint Certification?

A: Certification under the Joint Certification Program as require by DD Form 2345 establishes the eligibility of a U.S. or Canadian contractor to technical data governed in the U.S. by DoD Directive 5230.25, and in Canada by the Technical Data Control Regulation.  A certification is required by U.S. or Canadian contractors that wish to obtain access to unclassified technical data disclosing militarily critical technology with military or space application that is under the control of or in the possession of the U.S. Department of Defense or the Canadian Department of National Defense. The majority of the documentation presented to NAMC from the VRA will be Distribution C or D.

Q: Who is a member of the VRA?

A: The Vehicle and Robotics Alliance (VRA) is an alliance of Government employees, offices and agencies which voluntarily bring their ground vehicle and robotic technical needs to the DME for a competitive engagement with members of the NAMC through the Ground Vehicle Systems Other Transaction (GVS OTA) instrument.  The VRA is not open to members of academia or industry.

Q: What are the benefits of using the DME for ground vehicle development?

A: The DME has a faster award cycle, negotiable terms (especially for IP and data rights), and fewer and less stringent requirements than FAR. Furthermore, the DME is helping remove the traditional barriers between Government and private industry, giving the Department of Defense (DoD) expedited access to the best in commercial technologies from small businesses and nontraditional defense contractors. Conversely, the DME allows NAMC industry members to collaborate and focus on what they do best, deliver cutting-edge ground vehicle solutions, without putting a strain on their operations.

Q: Can my organization join the DME?

A: If you are a member of Government, you can join the DME by contacting the VRA to learn more about utilizing the GVS OTA.  If you are a company or academic organization, you can join the DME by joining the NAMC.

Q: What is the DME Electronic Basket?

A: If funding is not available for one or more selected proposals sent by a NAMC member for a project requirement, or if the proposal is deemed technically sound, but another was rated higher and chosen for award, the Government will place such proposals in the electronic Basket file, otherwise referred to as the Basket, until funding becomes available. The Basket is another advantage of membership in the DME, both for Government (who have the opportunity to select proposals ready to be funded) and industry (whose proposals receive a second opportunity to be funded).

The RPP will contain the available ratings and their definitions to be assigned to proposals as a result of the technical evaluation as well as which specific ratings will qualify a proposal for inclusion in the Basket. The Government reserves the right to determine which, if any, proposals are to be selected according to the published criteria.

Once in the Basket, a proposal may be identified for award by the Government based on Government need and availability of funding.  The Government reserves the right i) to request that the NAMC Member who submitted the identified proposal update, scale, or otherwise adjust the original proposal, and ii) to fund all or part of the identified proposal. Upon the Government’s decision to fund such an identified proposal from the Basket, the Chief Administrative Office (CAO) will receive notification of the award decision through a Project Milestone and Payment Instruction (PMPI) letter whereupon the NAMC will enter into a Project Agreement with the indicated NAMC member or team as required and issue an award/task assignment.

A selected proposal will reside in the Basket for 36 months from the date the CAO receives the Basket Selection Letter from the Government Administrative Officer (AO) unless fully funded or the submitting NAMC Member requests in writing beforehand to have it removed or the Government issues a PMPI for the entire scope of work. With regard to proposals currently in the GVS OTA Basket as of the time this OTA is awarded, such proposals shall continue to reside in the Basket and be eligible for consideration, selection and award under this OTA, for a cumulative total of 36 months from the date they were placed in the Basket via Basket Selection letter. This will be the case unless a proposal is fully funded via PMPI or the submitting NAMC Member requests in writing beforehand to have it removed.  If an NAMC member makes the decision to discontinue their membership in the NAMC, any proposal(s) contained within the Basket for which they are the prime member will be removed from the Basket. If an NAMC member makes the decision to discontinue their membership in the NAMC, any proposal(s) contained within the Basket for which they are the subcontractor will remain in the Basket provided that the prime member is still a member in good standing with the NAMC.

Upon receiving a Basket Selection Letter, the CAO will notify NAMC Members whose proposals have been selected of the Government’s decision to do so.  Proposals in the Basket are not ranked and are available to be reviewed and selected in whole or in part by the VRA Program Director, VRA OTA Manager, AORs, or Government employee designated by the VRA Program Director upon request to the AO.  The AO will notify the CAO of any and all such requests who will in turn notify the NAMC member who submitted the proposal.  Such exchanges of information shall be subject to protection as set forth in Article VIII, Confidential Information.

The CAO will manage the Basket for the NAMC and the Government.  The Basket will include the project, date the project was put into the basket, date the project expires from the basket, up to eight key words/phrases associated with the project, an abstract of the project, the primary proposer’s company contact information, and the RPP associated with the proposal.