Middle Tier Acquisition (Section 804)

Your source for Middle Tier Acquisition (Section 804) information.

As USD(A&S) and the SAEs publish implementation guidance, we integrate it here.

Middle Tier implementation guidance is organized by the functional areas on the left.

Congress in the FY16 NDAA Section 804 directed USD(AT&L), in consultation with USD Comptroller and VCJCS to establish guidance for a ‘‘middle tier’’ of acquisition programs that are intended to be completed in a period of 2-5 years via two acquisition pathways:

Rapid Prototyping

Use innovative technology to rapidly develop fieldable prototypes to demonstrate new capabilities, meet emerging military needs. The objectives are:

  • Field a prototype that can be demonstrated in an operational environment
  • Provide for residual operational capability within 5 years of an approved requirement

Rapid Fielding

Use proven technologies to field production quantities of new or upgraded systems with minimal development required. The objectives are:

  • Begin production within 6 months
  • Complete fielding within 5 years of an approved requirement

Per the FY16 NDAA, these programs shall not be subject to JCIDS and DODD 5000.01, however the DoD implementation includes a tailored set of requirements and acquisition processes. 

Additional NDAA Language

The DoD shall develop guidance for a merit based process

Rapid Prototyping:

  • Consideration of innovative technologies and new capabilities to meet needs communicated by the JCS and COCOMs
  • Develop and implement acquisition and funding program strategies
  • Cost-sharing with the MilDepts on rapid prototype projects, to ensure an appropriate commitment to the success of such projects
  • Demonstrating and evaluating the performance of fieldable prototypes developed pursuant to the program in an operational environment
  • Transitioning successful prototypes to new or existing acquisition programs for production and fielding under the rapid fielding pathway or the traditional acquisition system

Rapid Fielding:

  • Consideration of existing products and proven technologies to meet needs communicated by the JCS and COCOMs
  • Demonstrating performance and evaluating for current operational purposes the proposed products and technologies;
  • Developing and implementing acquisition and funding strategies for the program
  • Considering lifecycle costs and addressing issues of logistics support and system interoperability

Guidance required shall provide for a streamlined and coordinated requirements, budget, and acquisition process that results in the development of an approved requirement for each program in a period of not more than six months from the time that the process is initiated.

Middle Tier and Rapid Acquisition Pathways Briefing

Each of the Middle Tier Acquisition pages has a comment section at the bottom. We hope to facilitate collaboration across the community on successful adoption of 804 practices. Please pose questions, challenges, and best practices to share with others.


  1. Henri Sahut

    I work for a small program that produces radios for 24 plus platforms and users over 25K in radios fielded. Their position is, if management wanted them to engage in the 804-process. Management would have said something to them. Which say the downward flow of information has not reached Resource Managers or Program Managers. Or their management either. Additionally, people down want to take a risk on a new process. When they can’t find publish guidance as to how to execute the process in the AF.

  2. petemodi

    We hear some have a risk aversion to using 804 on their programs. What have you seen or heard in your organization? What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities with 804?

    • Todd Pollard

      The most likely factor in DoD risk aversion to this opportunity is the perceived risk of a sustained protest slowing down or stopping any kind of attempt to put these streamlined acquisition openings into action. The GAO’s sustainment of Oracle’s protest to the USTRANSCOM REAN Cloud Production OTA is a good example.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This