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Department of Defense's Waiver of Competitive Prototyping Requirement for Enhanced Polar System Program
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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The Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, as amended WSARA, requires that the acquisition strategy for each major defense acquisition program provides for competitive prototypes before Milestone B approval which authorizes entry into system development unless the Milestone Decision Authority waives the requirement. Competitive prototyping, which involves commercial, government, or academic sources producing early prototypes of weapon systems or critical subsystems, can help Department of Defense DOD programs reduce technical risk, refine requirements, validate designs and cost estimates, and evaluate manufacturing processes prior to making major commitments of resources. WSARA states that the Milestone Decision Authority may waive the competitive prototyping requirement only on the basis that 1 the cost of producing competitive prototypes exceeds the expected life-cycle benefits in constant dollars of producing such prototypes, including the benefits of improved performance and increased technological and design maturity that may be achieved through competitive prototyping or 2 but for such a waiver, DOD would be unable to meet critical national security objectives. WSARA also directed us to review and assess DOD s rationale for competitive prototyping waivers.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE