Not all contracts or agreements with the U.S. Government are subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulations. You need to adhere to their requirements if you expect to compete for the business.
Grants, cooperative agreements, concessionaire contracts, contracts with non-appropriated fund instrumentalities (NAFI), other transaction authority (OTA) agreements and NASA Act Agreements all have their own set of requirements and laws.
Additionally, DoD has authorized specific groups to be the innovative leaders with unique authorities: Defense Innovation Unit – Experimental (DIUx), the DoD Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO), the CyberWorx program at the USAFA, and others with authority to use OTAs (e.g., DARPA, AFRL, Operationally Responsive Space, Rapid Innovation Funds).
While not subject to the FAR or agency supplements, these agreements are still subject to specific requirements and laws.
While this can be very overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be if you have the right strategic partner on your side.