What agencies can provide the TRA for the Army?
Per DODI 5000.02; Feb 2, 2017; the TRA should be conducted in the TMRR Phase:
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Para 5.d.(4)(a) states, "The purpose of this [TMRR] phase is to reduce technology, engineering, integration, and life-cycle cost risk to the point that a decision to contract for EMD can be made with confidence..."
Para 5.d.(4)(b).1 and 5.d.(4)(b).2 add, " This phase should include a mix of activities intended to reduce the specific risks associated with the product to be developed. This includes additional design trades and requirements trades necessary to ensure an affordable product and executable development and production programs.... This phase normally includes competitive sources conducting technology maturation and risk reduction activities and preliminary design activities up to and including a Preliminary Design Review (PDR)..."
5.d.(4)(b).3 adds, "There are a number of ways to structure this [TMRR] phase which should be tailored to reduce the specific risks associated with the product being acquired. Technology Readiness Levels, described in the Technology Readiness Assessment (TRA) Guidance (Reference (f)), should be used to benchmark technology risk during this phase; however, these indices are rough benchmarks, and not conclusive about the degree of risk mitigation needed prior to development. Deeper analysis of the actual risks associated with the preferred design and any recommended risk mitigation must be conducted and provided to the MDA."
In DODI 5000.02, Table 2, the TRA is statutory for Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs), where it states, "A preliminary assessment is due for the Development RFP Release Decision Point. The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD(R&E)), in consultation with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Developmental Test and Evaluation) (DASD(DT&E)), will conduct an independent review and assessment of the TRA conducted by the Program Manager and other factors to determine whether the technology in the program has been demonstrated in a relevant environment. The assessment informs the 2366b CERTIFICATION AND DETERMINATION before Milestone B (in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2366b (Reference (h)). The TRA at Milestone C is a Regulatory requirement when Milestone C is Program Initiation."
The TRA is conducted for leadership to assess technical risks/maturity and for the PM to present these to the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA). The TRA is statutory for MDAPs, but can/should be conducted for non-MDAPs. In DODI 5000.02, a reference for the TRA is Technology Readiness Assessment (TRA) Guidance, April 2011, as amended. The amendment was dated May 13, 2011. Even possible at Milestone C, the TRA should be conducted whenever there is a new program initiation.
Per the DoD Technology Readiness Assessment (TRA) Guidance, from Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD(R&E)) and revised May 13, 2011...
In Section 1, "Summary. A Technology Readiness Assessment (TRA) is a systematic, metrics-based process that assesses the maturity of, and the risk associated with, critical technologies to be used in Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs). It is conducted by the Program Manager (PM) with the assistance of an independent team of subject matter experts (SMEs). It is provided to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD(R&E)) and will provide part of the bases upon which he advises the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) at Milestone (MS) B or at other events designated by the MDA to assist in the determination of whether the technologies of the program have acceptable levels of risk-based in part on the degree to which they have been demonstrated (including demonstration in a relevant environment)-and to support risk-mitigation plans prepared by the PM. The plan for conducting a TRA is provided to the ASD(R&E) by the PM upon approval by the Component Acquisition Executive (CAE)."
In Section 2.2, Program Manager (PM) responsibilities, the guidance states, "The PM,... Assigns members of the SME team and informs the CAE, PEO, ASD(R&E), and S&T Executive of the final membership... Identifies possible critical technologies for consideration by the SME team... Provides evidence of technology demonstration in relevant environments... Provides proposed risk-mitigation plans to address remaining technological risk associated with critical technologies... and... Prepares the TRA report that will include findings, conclusions, and other pertinent material prepared by the SMEs." There is more the PM is responsible for, but I believe these are the key aspects to consider when assessing a TRA conducted by another organization/Service.
So, to get directly to your questions - another Government agency (the Air Force, in your case) CAN conduct an Army TRA. I have read nowhere that a contractor should conduct this assessment, especially on their own. I have found no other guidance on who can/should conduct the TRA, other than specifics on who the Government team members should be. If the TRA has NOT been conducted yet, the list of questions above (TRA guidance, para 2.2) should be discussed and agreed upon between the Army and Air Force before the TRA. However, if the TRA has already been conducted - the Army Program Manager (PM) should ask himself/herself these same questions (TRA guidance, para 2.2) at a minimum. As three examples - I would recommend reviewing the PM (TRA) roles and then answering questions:
1. "The PM... assigns [TRA] members..." - Has the Army PM reviewed who the Air Force TRA members were? Were they qualified/acceptable?
2. "The PM... identifies possible critical technologies..." - What are the Army's critical technologies? Do they match those selected in the Air Force TRA?
3. "The PM...provides evidence of....relevant environments." - What are the Army's relevant environments? Do they match those selected in the Air Force TRA?
Above is information from DODI 5000.02, DASD/DT&E TRA guidance, and suggestions based on if the TRA has or has not been conducted yet. Hope this helps.