Under Technical Assistance Agreements (TAAs), ERDC laboratories may provide technical assistance on a nonexclusive basis to assist United States firms that are competing for or have been awarded a contract for planning, designing or constructing a project outside the United States. TAAs must be coordinated with the U.S. embassy where the project is located and with the appropriate Army element responsible for the region.
TAAs are authorized by 33 USC 2323. The law authorizes the Secretary of the Army (with delegation down to the laboratory director) to enter into TAAs with U.S. firms in support of overseas work.
When a TAA is Appropriate
Technical assistance includes studies, evaluations, designs, computer and physical modeling and testing, and other engineering and scientific functions for which USACE is uniquely equipped, trained and authorized by law to perform. TAAs do not require technical collaboration by the partner, otherwise a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) would be more appropriate. The assistance is more than mere testing, otherwise a Testing Services Agreement would be more appropriate. In many instances, the assistance provided could be done through either a TAA or a CRADA. The advantage of a TAA is that it does not require the waiting period for Army review. The firm must certify that assistance is not otherwise reasonably and expeditiously available from a private sector source and must agree to hold and save the U.S. free from any damages due to any such research and development assistance. Work may not be initiated prior to receipt of funds sufficient to cover the cost of the estimate or at least an initial increment based upon an approved payment schedule that ensures funds are deposited prior to work being performed.
Who May Participate in a TAA
The participating firm must be established under the laws of the U.S. with its principal place of business in the U.S. and it must be competing for, or have already been awarded, a contract for the planning, design or construction of a project outside the U.S. If the partner is a member of a joint venture with foreign firms, the laboratory may support the U.S. firm, but the terms, conditions and responsibilities in the TAA are not assignable to the foreign joint venture firms. If more than one firm requests assistance on the same project, the laboratory must provide the same level of assistance to all such firms.