Search WWW Search wifcon.com

Back to WSARA Contents


Section 203

House Conference Report 111-124


    (a) Competitive Prototyping- Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall modify the guidance of the Department of Defense relating to the operation of the acquisition system with respect to competitive prototyping for major defense acquisition programs to ensure the following:

      (1) That the acquisition strategy for each major defense acquisition program provides for competitive prototypes before Milestone B approval (or Key Decision Point B approval in the case of a space program) unless the Milestone Decision Authority for such program waives the requirement pursuant to paragraph (2).

      (2) That the Milestone Decision Authority may waive the requirement in paragraph (1) only--

        (A) on the basis that 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

        (B) on the basis that, but for such waiver, the Department would be unable to meet critical national security objectives.

      (3) That whenever a Milestone Decision Authority authorizes a waiver pursuant to paragraph (2), the Milestone Decision Authority--

        (A) shall require that the program produce a prototype before Milestone B approval (or Key Decision Point B approval in the case of a space program) if the expected life-cycle benefits (in constant dollars) of producing such prototype exceed its cost and its production is consistent with achieving critical national security objectives; and

        (B) shall notify the congressional defense committees in writing not later than 30 days after the waiver is authorized and include in such notification the rationale for the waiver and the plan, if any, for producing a prototype.

      (4) That prototypes may be required under paragraph (1) or (3) for the system to be acquired or, if prototyping of the system is not feasible, for critical subsystems of the system.

    (b) Comptroller General Review of Certain Waivers-

      (1) NOTICE TO COMPTROLLER GENERAL- Whenever a Milestone Decision Authority authorizes a waiver of the requirement for prototypes pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection (a) on the basis of excessive cost, the Milestone Decision Authority shall submit the 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.

      (2) COMPTROLLER GENERAL REVIEW- Not later than 60 days after receipt of a notification of a waiver under paragraph (1), the Comptroller General shall--

        (A) review the rationale for the waiver; and

        (B) submit to the congressional defense committees a written assessment of the rationale for the waiver.

Prototyping requirements for major defense acquisition programs (sec. 203)

The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 203(c) and (d)) that would establish prototyping requirements for major defense acquisition programs.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The House recedes with an amendment that would simplify the requirement.


Congressional Record, Senate, February 23, 2009, Summary of S. 454, the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, P. S2367

Section 203. Life-Cycle Competition.

The Defense Science Board Task Force on Defense Industrial Structure for Transformation reported in July 2008 that consolidation in the defense industry has substantially reduced innovation in the defense industry and created incentives for major contractors to maximize profitability on established programs rather than seeking to improve performance. The Task Force recommended the adoption of measures--such as competitive prototyping, dual-sourcing, funding of a second source for next generation technology, utilization of open architectures to ensure competition for upgrades, periodic competitions for subsystem upgrades, licensing of additional suppliers, government oversight of make-or-buy decisions--to maximize competition throughout the life of a program, periodic program reviews, and requirement of added competition at the subcontract level. Section 203 would require the Department of Defense to implement this recommendation.




















Where in Federal Contracting?