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Interim Contractor Support (ICS)


Temporary contractor support in lieu of organic capability for a predetermined time (generally not to exceed 3 years) that allows a Service to defer investment in all or part of required support resources (spares, Technical Data (TD), support equipment, training equipment, etc.), while an organic support capability is phased in. ICS includes the use of commercial support resources and the use of contractor support for initial fielding, and also is a method of support used in compressed or accelerated acquisition programs.

General Information

DoD and Service Specifics

The above definition is based on the DoD 7000.14-R DoD Financial Management Regulations (FMR). The FMR also provides guidance that: (a) ICS should be budgeted using Procurement appropriations; (b) acquisition strategies should attempt to minimize ICS duration; and (c) continued ICS funding beyond the acquisition program baseline date for transition to long-term support may be approved on an exception basis.  DoD Instruction 5000.91, Product Support Management for the Adaptive Acquisition Framework, addresses use of ICS for Middle Tier of Acquisition (MTA) rapid prototyping programs, including the need to document in the Life Cycle Sustainment Plan (LCSP) the timeline for ICS to transition to "an organic Product Support Provider (PSP) or Product Support Integrator (PSI) or a best value mix of organic and contract PSI(s) and/or PSP(s)" (para 6.2c(3))

The military Services have established their own definitions for ICS, which, in some cases, are slightly different. They include:

  • Army Regulation (AR) 700-127Integrated Product Support, Para 4-15.b(1) defines ICS as “a finite bridging strategy until the objective support identified in the LCSP is fully operational. The Army goal for transitioning from ICS to the objective support is no longer than 3 years from the start of ICS.” The AR 700-127 Glossary defines ICS as "a method of support used in compressed or accelerated acquisition programs, or when design is not sufficiently stabilized. Provides all or part of a materiel support by contract for a specified interim period after initial deployment to allow organic support capability to be phased in. A support acquisition technique rather than a support concept."
  • Marine Corps Order (MCO) 4200.33,Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) for Ground Equipment, Ground Weapon Systems, Munitions and Information Systems, Para 4.b. defines ICS as “an acquisition strategy that allows fielding of a new or significantly modified item or system prior to determining the method of life cycle support on becoming operational. ICS gives the Marine Corps the flexibility to defer investment in all or part of the organic support resources (such as spare parts, technical data, support equipment, and training devices) and not to exceed 2 years.”
  • Air Force Instruction (AFI) 63-101/20-101Integrated Life Cycle Management, Para 7.14.2. defines ICS as “a temporary support method for an initial period of the operation of the system, equipment, or end-item. This strategy is utilized for controlling capital investment costs while design stability is being achieved and complex product support elements are being developed.”  It further states if ICS is planned, the Program Manager (PM) ensures the acquisition strategy and LCSP include a plan for transition from ICS to the long-term product support strategy (organic or contract).

Synonymous with Interim Supply Support (ISS)?

From a supply support or materiel management perspective, a related, although not entirely synonymous term is Interim Supply Support (ISS). ISS is generally considered the period of time between initial fielding or operational turnover of a weapon system to the user (e.g., Initial Operational Capability (IOC)) and transition to a Government or contractor Inventory Control Point (ICP). During ISS, the contractor generally serves as the ICP for the new weapon system's peculiar/unique equipment/spares and is responsible for managing the inventory. In essence, ISS is focused on the Integrated Product Support (IPS) element of Supply Support, while ICS generally addresses the spectrum of all 12 IPS elements.

Note however, that ICS is often confused with Contractor Logistics Support. While ICS is a form of CLS, the two terms are not synonymous. First, ICS is clearly and by virtue of its name, an interim step or capability prior to implementation of the long-term product support strategy and/or arrangement. Conversely, the DAU Glossary defines CLS as "the performance of maintenance and/or materiel management functions for a DoD weapon system by a commercial activity" with no time limitation.  Current DoD policy allows for the provision of system support by contractors on a long-term basis. However, Performance-Based Logistics (PBL) should be considered when the product support strategy includes use of CLS.  Note that PBL and CLS are not synonymous either.  CLS specifies the "who," whereas PBL specifies "what" (e.g., pursuit of warfighter readiness outcomes, not transactions).  See the Life Cycle Logistics Blog post "CLS, ICS, and PBL - A Study in Contrasts" and Defense Acquisition Magazine article "Product Support: The Key to Warfighter Readiness," for additional perspectives.  

Finally, note Title 10 USC 2460:  Definition of Depot-Level Maintenance and Repair states, "the term "depot-level maintenance and repair" means ...material maintenance or repair requiring the overhaul, upgrading, or rebuilding of parts, assemblies, or subassemblies, and the testing and reclamation of equipment as necessary, regardless of the source of funds for the maintenance or repair or the location at which the maintenance or repair is performed, [and] includes… interim contractor support or contractor logistics support (or any similar contractor support), to the extent that such support is for the performance of services described in the preceding sentence." (emphasis added)