DOD use of a tailored acquisition approach to rapidly acquire and field MRAP vehicles was successful. The program relied only on proven technologies and commercially available products; established minimal operational requirements; and undertook a concurrent approach to producing, testing, and fielding the vehicles.
To expand limited production capacity, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts were awarded to nine commercial sources, with DOD agreeing to buy at least 4 vehicles from each. Subsequent orders were based on a concurrent testing approach with progressively more advanced vehicle test results and other assessments.
To expedite fielding of the vehicles, the government retained the responsibility for final integration in them of mission equipment packages including radios and other equipment. DOD also made MRAP its highest priority acquisition, which helped contractors and others more rapidly respond to the need and meet production requirements, in part by early investing of their own capital to purchase steel and other critical components in advance of orders.
Schedule and performance results for MRAP were very good overall. In July 2008, nearly all testing was completed; the Marine Corps had placed orders for 14,173 MRAPs; and, as of May 2008, 9,121 vehicles had been delivered. As of July 2009, 16,204 vehicles have been produced and 13,848 vehicles fielded in two theaters of operation. Total MRAP production funding was about $22.7 billion, mostly through supplemental appropriations.
In terms of lessons learned, MRAP’s success was driven by several factors, including quick action to declare its acquisition DOD’s highest priority and giving it a DX rating, which allowed access to more critical materials than was otherwise available. The availability of supplemental appropriations was also essential.
However, while neither of these factors are practically transferable to other programs, decisions to 1) use only proven technologies, 2) keep requirements to a minimum, 3) infuse significant competition into contracting, and 4) keep final integration responsibility with the government all led to positive outcomes and may be transferable.
Challenges to MRAP remain in its reliability, mobility, and safety, which required some modifying of designs and postproduction fixes, and adapting how vehicles were used. Also, long term sustainment costs are not understood and the services are only now deciding how MRAP fits them in the longer term.
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