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  • Question

    Is there a quantitative assessment of savings associated with maintaining competition through the technology development phase of a major defense acquisition program?


    Answer

    There is no standard tool for determining a quantitative assessment of competition as each cost benefit analysis is based on estimates of each specific acquisition.  Therefore, the calculation of the benefits must be assessed for each specific situation by answering the question “is the extra expense worth the investment for risk reduction?”  The general concept of competition resulting in savings is resident in both law and policy.  In 1984 the Congress passed the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) and clearly stated that all Government purchases must be competed unless an exception could be justified and approved.  More recently the Congress again reiterated competition as a cost saving methodology by requiring in Public Law 111-23, Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act (WSARA), dated 22 May 2009 that competitive prototyping was required.  This concept is also contained in the DoDI 5000.02 dated December 8, 2008 at Enclosure 2 paragraph 5.c.9 which requires 2 or more competitive teams through Milestone B.  Further guidance is found in the Defense Acquisition Guidebook in several Chapters, namely at paragraphs 2.2.8.2, 4.1.3.1.3, 4.3.2, and 4.3.2.1 which further describe the benefits of competitive prototyping.
     
    Competitive prototyping is defined in the DAU Glossary of Defense Acquisition Acronyms & Terms, November 2009 as “Prototype competition between two or more contractors that incorporates a comparative side-by-side test.”
     
    Additional reading can be found by a Google search using - WSARA and competitive prototyping (without quotes).
     
    So, in conclusion, the burden is on the program manager to justify NOT using a competitive prototyping strategy in the technology development phase.

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