Since 1998, the CTMA Program has had a relentless focus on maintenance and sustainment logistics and improvements that assist the DoD to fill unmet technology needs. Working under the auspices of Congressionally-directed funding for the first few years, the CTMA Program has transitioned to be entirely service funded. That conversion illustrates the importance that the DoD places on the critical outcomes realized by the CTMA Program.
Depth and breadth of CTMA projects benefits warfighter readiness
Over the last 20 years, the CTMA Program has come into its own. Through a lot of hard work, dedication, and relationship building, the CTMA Program has supported well over 420 projects while partnering with all the branches of service. Our specialty is putting experienced teams together that will support projects from cradle to execution with the end goal of technology transition. The CTMA Program has been recognized with several awards and is the only program that focuses solely on maintenance and sustainment initiatives that ultimately benefit and support the warfighter.
What’s unique about our Cooperative Agreement
The first and perhaps biggest difference is that the CTMA Cooperative Agreement is non-FAR based. That means maintainers have access to innovative technologies from a wide variety of companies, including small start-up companies, and allows a deep reach into the well of forward-thinking and cutting-edge technologies enhancing productivity and cutting costs. Technologies introduced via a CTMA project can be modified to perfectly match the unique needs of the government partner, thereby alleviating any redundant work at the time of acquisition.
CTMA projects are not designed for acquisition but rather developed to be demonstrations, evaluations, and validations so the acquisition decision is based on real knowledge and data.
Because these projects are demonstrated, evaluated, and validated by the end user, the maintainer who utilizes it on a daily basis will have a comfort level and buy-in for these technologies from the very beginning.
Funding and cost sharing
CTMA projects are primarily funded from Research, Development, Testing, & Evaluation (RDT&E) or Operations & Maintenance (O&M) accounts. But another unique feature of CTMA is that there is also an industry cost share. All partners in the project have invested interests in the final outcome and work in lockstep throughout the lifespan of the project. Industry shares the financial weight with the government sponsor, stretching taxpayer dollars and creating a joint vision of success.
Almost unheard of with other contract vehicles, the CTMA Program allows for an agile business process that executes a project within a staggering 45 days. In addition, the CTMA project partners are concurrently working on the business-to-business contracting and other pertinent project requirements so that after contract execution the pilot project can immediately begin with no time wasted.
All services have similar maintenance and sustainment challenges and needs. The Joint Technology Exchange Group (JTEG) was formed to discuss these challenges, share best practices amongst the services, and collectively try to find solutions. The CTMA Program is the backbone that allows the services to “try it before you buy it” without making large initial investments. Pooled funding of projects between services helps alleviate the entire financial burden on one service and streamlines the decision-making process. CTMA projects allow other services to be observers on a project, to evaluate the results, and determine whether the technology would help solve issues within their own organization.
Communication and outreach to enable transition
All CTMA projects begin by identifying maintenance and/or sustainment needs. At times an industry with the technology to meet the need falls within the scope of the CTMA Cooperative Agreement because the project is not an acquisition but rather a demonstration, evaluation, or validation of the technology. These projects have a wide scope and results have important implications for the general public as well as the military.
If there is no industry identified for an unmet need through the CTMA Program, NCMS develops and disseminates a Sources Sought request throughout its broad network of industries and academic partners. With an invitation to respond, DoD sponsors have qualified partners with demonstrated expertise on the subject.
For CTMA projects, a concept paper is developed that addresses the overarching problem at a high level that the project will attempt to mitigate. We work diligently with Washington Headquarters Services, the contract and financial arm of the OSD, to ensure that projects fall within the parameters of the Cooperative Agreement. The concept paper also provides specific tasks and deliverables that outline exactly what is expected from all partners for the project to achieve success.
This document is accompanied by a project announcement, statement of work, business case analysis, return on investment studies, and updates on project milestones and successes that narrate the outcomes of these private/public collaborations. Our goal is to plan for acquisition after the conclusion of the project and cover all requirements for a smooth technology transition.
A final report that provides a comprehensive view of the lifecycle of the project is written that is provided to the DoD, and within a designated period of time, is released to the public.