Department of Defense's Waiver of Competitive Prototyping Requirement for the Air Force's F-15 Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System (EPAWSS) Program
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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The Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, as amended WSARA, requires the Secretary of Defense to modify guidance to ensure 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.1 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. It can also help reduce the time it takes to field a system, and as a result, reduce its acquisition cost. 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 provides that when a Milestone Decision Authority authorizes a waiver of the competitive prototyping requirement on the basis of what WSARA describes as excessive cost, the Milestone Decision Authority is required to submit notification of the waiver, together with the rationale, to the Comptroller General of the United States at the same time it is submitted to the congressional defense committees.
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