In an AFWERX Challenge, two types of contracts exist:
- Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO)
- The Challenge’s Prototyping Contract
What is a Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO)?
In the AFWERX Challenge process, each solution is vetted by subject matter experts whose analysis helps decide which teams are invited to a Challenge Showcase event. Teams who are invited to the Showcase event are eligible for a contract to bring their solution to support Airmen and Guardian end-users called a CSO.
The Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) is a formal announcement allowing The Department of the Air Force to solicit formal proposals and contract any US-based companies. The CSO is one contracting pathway that can be used to get AFWERX Challenge Showcase teams on contract.
Who can use the CSO:
Being selected for the Showcase means you have access to the Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) pathway - if one is available for your Challenge and the CSO is still active. The CSO allows anyone in the Department of the Air Force, not just the Challenge Sponsor team, to execute a contract to implement your solution, assuming of course that your solution meets a need they have and you can agree on terms.
In the CSO framework, anyone who participates in an AFWERX Challenge and is evaluated and selected to participate in the Showcase satisfies Spiral 1 and Spiral 2. As a result, contracting offices interested in their solution could use the CSO to perform the contract as part of Spiral 3.
Spiral 3 is where a contracting officer will release a CSP (Commercial Solutions Proposal) and you, the solution provider, will respond with a Statement of Work. This then starts a negotiation process between the solution provider and the contracting organization to ensure a Department of the Air Force’s need is met by the solution provided and terms are reasonable for timing and cost.
If your solution was selected for a Showcase in a Challenge eligible for a CSO, and you have an Air Force customer interested in it, have them contact the AFWERX team so we assist them in the process.