Competitive Prototype

Industry Roundtable
14 July 2008
Blake Ireland
What is Competitive Prototyping?
• Competitive Prototyping (CP) is a new acquisition
approach wherein two or more competing teams
develop prototypes of high risk system elements prior
to a Milestone B decision
• Memo released by the Honorable Mr. John Young, Under
Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and
Logistics (OUSD/AT&L) on September 19, 2007
Directed the Military Services and Defense Agencies to
“formulate all pending and future programs with acquisition
strategies and funding that provide for two or more competing
teams producing prototypes through Milestone (MS) B.”
CP strategy is to be extended to all appropriate programs below
CP Industry Workshop
• Industry participated with the DoD in a Competitive
Prototyping roundtable at the Institute for Defense
Analysis (IDA) on 28 April 2008
• The themes for the workshop were set in an
introductory presentation by Al Shaffer, Principal
Deputy, DDR&E
Remarks were also made by Bill Greenwalt, DUSD (Industrial
• Each of 15 companies had a 15 minute slot in which to
express their experiences, views, and recommendations
on Competitive Prototyping
Industry Presentations – Common Themes
• CP should add significant value in terms of risk reduction and
technology maturation
• Additional CP costs are expected be offset by savings in SDD and
production costs
• Stable and predictable requirements at the outset are key
• Logistics of managing CP may stretch thin the government team
• CP goals must be clearly defined – basis for industry investment
(e.g. IRAD) must be convincing – production potential must be
• Prototyping may not always require competition if technology
readiness levels going in are high enough
Industry Workshop – Discussion Topics
• Several topics stimulated quite a bit of discussion
Innovation recognition
Intellectual property protection
Potential for reduction in time to field – presenters provided
examples on both sides of this issue
• Only one presenter introduced the subject of software and its
attendant risks!
Industry Presentations – Other Topics
• Less common, yet relevant, topics emerged
Some reported that competitive prototyping is already used with
their suppliers
Those without “skin in the game” such as certifying agencies can
bog down a CP process
All stakeholders from the requirements community must be
engaged early and often
Down-select should follow CP phase, not a re-compete that
includes new players
The system engineering plan should be a collaboration between
the government and contractor
Some felt the CP phase should be relatively short, i.e. <2 years
Survey on CP Software Impact
• Limited consideration may have been given to the
impact on (and of) software
• Survey, led by USC CSSE, is underway to collect
insights on software impacts, with special attention to
Software quality attributes
• Survey results will be used by NDIA Software Experts
Panel and OUSD(AT&L) to provide guidance to both
government and industry
CP-related Actions
• An updated DAG is expected to be released this
• A “Government only” review of the CP mandate and its
implications is planned for 17 July 2008