1. Can we pursue the IM rocket motor change as a 'safety modification'?
2. What is the definition of a safety modification and what references cover it?
3. What is the definition of 'increased capability' and what references cover it?
4. Could the change be considered a modification that we can do via an engineering change proposal (ECP) or is it a New Start?
5. What does 'previously justified' and 'normal budget process' mean in the definition of a New Start found in DoD Financial Management Reg 7000.14-R, chapter 6, para 060401E?
6. Would competitive prototyping be required for the new rocket motor?
7. What entity within DoD determines if we have met the intent of the IM Statutory Requirement (Military Law) of United States Code, Title 10, Chapter 141, Dec 2001: 'Section 2389. The Secretary of Defense shall ensure, to the extent practicable, that munitions under development or procurement are safe throughout development and fielding when subject to unplanned stimuli'?
You asked quite a few questions but they all center on the fundamental
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requirement for your program to now meet IM compliancy. It sounds like your
program was recently classified as such much later in its life cycle?
Typically, safety is addressed throughout the acquisition process, and any
system containing energetics would comply with insensitive munitions criteria.
I'm not sure where in your program things changed, but because of DoD'
experience with sympathetic detonation incidents, it developed specific
standardized sets of IM testing criteria for use by all programs for
evaluating IM compliance --and protecting lives. Depending on where your
program was at the time the JROC (the only authority who can waive this
requirement) apparently authorized a temporary waiver for certain reasons.
The testing criteria for IM compliancy are outlined in the Defense Acquisition
Guidebook (DAG), Chapter 9. The DAG is a tremendous source of information
and can answer many of your questions, especially paragraph 4.4.9 with respect
to IM compliancy (under the Systems Engineering paragraph, Chapter 4). Table
4.4.9.T1. addresses the tests, threats, passing criteria, and configuration.
A single standardized set of IM tests and passing criteria are to be used by
all Components for evaluating and reporting on the IM compliance status of the
munitions in their portfolio. These standards are the default for use for
typical munitions programs. For atypical circumstances, deviations will
require review and approval by the JROC through the Joint Capabilities
Integration and Development System (JCIDS).
All programs are expected to develop a Programmatic Environment, Safety and
Occupational Health Evaluation (PESHE) to document to address all the hazards.
PESHE serves as a repository for top-level Environment, Safety, and
Occupational Health (ESOH) management information to include:
. Identification, assessment, mitigation, and acceptance of ESOH risks,
. On-going evaluation of mitigation effectiveness, and
. Compliance Schedule for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
The PESHE communicates to program managers and others the status of the ESOH
effort and ESOH risk management for the system. If the program's original
Acquisition Strategy did not adequately include a summary of the PESHE and the
NEPA, it needs to. The program's Systems Engineering Plan (SEP) should also
include a reference to the strategy for integrating ESOH into Systems
Ordinarily, the Lead Safety Engineer would ensure IM compliancy requirements
are incorporated into the Test & Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP) followed by a
plan of action and milestones (POA&M) describing how the program will meet
these requirements. Consequently, the first step is to develop the POA&M for
the IM compliancy if not already done so. The program manager and his/her
team would have to determine the extent of this safety modification and build
an acquisition strategy (which could range from a minor modification to an
extensive one, to include everything that would reduce risk including
prototyping, competition, etc.--all within reason). The original acquisition
strategy should be used as a starting point for any alternate pursuits. The
POA&M should also revisit the SEP along with all the other existing program
documentation and include a comprehensive Risk Management (RM) program with
specific procedures that would address and mitigate (and perhaps not
necessarily eliminate) all known risk factors.
Safety modifications are not a short cut to increased capability (the JCIDS
process addresses new capabilities and follows a very deliberate process). I'm
not sure of the connection to your question on "increased capability." It
doesn't sound like you're providing the warfighter with increased capability.
The thresholds and criteria for Nunn-McCurdy breaches are well articulated
(e.g. when a program's unit cost growth exceeds (or breaches) the original or
the latest approved acquisition program baseline (APB), DoD must report it to
Congress). This safety modification (and I think that's how it should be
codified) could indeed result in a Nunn-McCurdy breach but the program office
should be able to substantiate "why." Ultimately, the SECDEF's assessment to
Congress would address the new estimate if the cost delta exceeds a percentage
increase in the APB threshold. It's up to the responsible component to fund
it in the POM process.
I hope this answers most of your questions. You would be well served by
researching some of your service-unique policies and directives that might
shed more light on the subject. Good luck!