Initiating a Middle Tier Acquisition
Middle Tier Acquisition
CAEs will identify new MTA programs by submitting an information memorandum and Program Identification data utilizing the authoritative spreadsheet in the Defense Acquisition Visibility Environment (DAVE) at least 30 calendar days before the obligation of any funds for an MTA effort.
There will be monthly MTA governance meetings attended by a representative of the VCJCS, USD(R&E), USD(A&S), Director CAPE to assess the aggregate use of the MTA authority based on data submissions.
MTA programs do not require OSD approval, however, OSD may determine that specific programs are not appropriate for MTA. In this event, I will direct that the program be executed using traditional acquisition authorities as set forth under DODI 5000.02, and include, when applicable, the requirements of Chapters 139 and 144 of title 10, United States Code.
After initial program identification, MTA programs will submit updated data quarterly on the first business day of the first month of each fiscal quarter.
- Component Acquisition Executives must identify MTA programs and provide meta-data in Defense Acquisition Visibility Environment (DAVE).
- CAEs will identify new MTA programs by submitting an information memorandum and Program Identification data at least 30 calendar days before the obligation of any funds for an MTA effort.
- MTA programs do not require OSD approval, however, OSD may determine that specific programs are not appropriate for MTA. In this event, I will direct that the program be executed using traditional acquisition authorities as set forth under DoDI 5000.02.
- Each pathway requires a distinct merit based assessment to ensure the transparency, accountability, and alignment within the Navy and Marine Corps acquisition, requirements, and resourcing communities.
- ASN(RD&A) will initiate all Middle Tier Acquisition programs by an ADM and may designate Acquisition Decision Authority at that time
- A Program Manager will be designated and report directly to the Acquisition Decision Authority.
- The Merit Based selection will review the warfighting problem, the overall capability required, and a solution tradespace within which to prototype. The DON will initiate Rapid Prototyping projects when the prototyping effort has:
- Alignment with a high priority military capability need
- A defined and manageable capability cost, schedule, feasibility of success and technical risk
- Available and stable funding through the normal PPBE process, ATR and BTR reprogramming, and/or through the use of the Rapid Acquisition Special Transfer Authorities
- Opportunity to reduce total ownership cost to include reduction in development, production, and sustainment costs as compared to development through the Defense Acquisition System.
- A configuration of the solution was demonstrated in an operationally relevant environment
- The DON can initiate a Rapid Prototyping Pathway in support of one or more of the following categories:
- Emergent Strategic Needs. Those needs that are emergent strategical Fleet/Forces needs not documented by a capability requirement through the normal Capability Based Assessment Process, nor sufficient funds programmed through the normal DoD PPBE process to execute in the year the need was identified. Emergent Strategic Needs initiation is consistent with the Secretary of the Navy Instruction (SECNAVINST) 5000.42, Department of the Navy Accelerated Acquisition for the Rapid Development, Demonstration and Fielding of Capability for initiating accelerated acquisition programs.
- Emergent Technologies. New warfighting capabilities that have been identified as an offsetting or disruptive warfighting needs through Future Naval Capability (NVC), Innovative Naval Prototype (INPs), Joint Capability Technology Demonstrations (JCTDs), Advance Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX), Warfighter Experiments, or similar information technology development advancements.
- Documented Needs. Projects that currently have a validated requirement documented via the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC), Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell (JRAC), the Chief of Naval Operations or Commandant of the Marine Corps Operational Needs process requiring acceleration to meet a warfighting need.
Merit Based Assessment Elements
Emergent Strategic Needs
Navy AA BoD
USMC AA BoD
(See SECNAVINST 500.42)
N9 -or- CD&I
& DASN (RDT&E)
Accelerating capabilities from CDD/CPD
N9, N8, N4, N2/N6, -or CD&I
- The DON can initiate Rapid Fielding efforts when the prototyping effort has:
- Continued alignment with a high priority military capability need
- A defined and manageable capability, cost, schedule, concept of supportability, and technical risk for a designated number of fielded systems
- Available and stable funding through the normal PPBE process, internal Above and Below Threshold Reprogramming, or through the use of the Rapid Acquisition Special Transfer Authorities
- Opportunity to reduce total ownership costs to include reduction in development, production, and sustainment costs as compared to development through the Defense Acquisition System (DAS)
- A configuration of the solution that was demonstrated in an operationally and relevant environment
The PEO and PM will submit requests to use MTA authority through the Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management (DASM) to the Army Acquisition Executive (AAE) for approval. When appropriate, PEOs/PMs should also request that they be designated the Decision Authority.
PMs must provide a program strategy through the PEO to the AAE, that includes threat; operational gap addressed by the MTA effort; why and how an MTA is appropriate; estimated lifecycle costs; risk management; and cost, schedule, and performance metrics. Additional details on the program strategy on the documentation page.
Requests will reflect coordination with appropriate requirements, test, and budget officials and, where applicable, the responsible Cross Functional Team (CFT) lead. PMs will propose an Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM) that will provide authority to proceed with the program. The DASM may arrange for the PEO/PM to provide an initial Shaping Briefing to the AAE and other invited participants to include representatives from the Offices of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller), Deputy Chief of Staff G-3, G-4, and G-8, ATEC, General Counsel, and, where applicable, the responsible CFT lead. Army Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) may proceed with a Rapid Prototyping or Rapid Fielding Effort at the direction of the RCO Board of Directors and may request to initiate a project directly with the AAE.
Guidance that applies only to Rapid Fielding:
- Rapid Fielding production will start within six months of the validation of the requirement and finish fielding an AROC approved capability increment within five years.
- In order to initiate Rapid Fielding efforts under the MTA, each project shall be selected under a merit-based selection framework. The merit-based selection will review the operational gap, the capability available, and trade space within which to produce and field. The program will initiate Rapid Fielding efforts when it has:
- Continued alignment with a high priority military capability need.
- A defined and manageable capability, cost, schedule, concept of supportability and technical risk for a designated number of AROC approved fielded systems.
- Available and stable funding.
- A configuration that was successfully demonstrated in an operationally and relevant environment.
MITRE Strategy Considerations
Form a Small High-Performing Team for your Rapid Program
A small, high-performing team is often able to deliver focused impact more quickly than larger teams or organizations made up of multiple teams. One of the primary reasons large teams or organizations don’t move quickly is the amount of formal coordination required before decisions can be made and actions taken. In a small team, members often work nearby and conduct regular brief check-ins to ensure each member is aware of the others’ efforts and challenges. This compact design enables the team to accomplish its purpose quickly and efficiently.
As illustrated below, as the team grows, the number of communication lines between individuals multiplies, making it increasingly difficult to coordinate activities and sustain a high tempo. To facilitate control, large teams are broken into multiple smaller teams, and required coordination between them further increases. Over time, a greater proportion of the team’s resources are diverted to meetings, reports, emails, and other administrative activities to maintain alignment and coordination between the components. Thus, keep the team small to move fast.
Each of the lines in the diagram below represents a relationship between two nodes in a network – for each new node added, there is a factorial increase in the number of relationships that must be maintained to coordinate information throughout the network.
Assembling a team of high-performers fosters an environment where each member builds on the passion, strengths, and expertise of other teammates. Small high-performance teams value a greater measure of diversity in the skills and experience of team members, and leverage that diversity to improve their analysis of alternatives, decision making, and execution, leading to improved outcomes. Having been successful in past positions, they know what it takes to create purpose, a sense of urgency, and priorities, and they can efficiently share their insights and skills with the other members of the team.
A common application of the Pareto Principle is managers will spend 80% of their time on 20% of their staff. An executive who can assemble a team of the ‘best and brightest’ employees can recover significant time and energy that can be re-invested in accomplishing the purpose of the team, rather than in dealing with performance and behavioral issues. Conversely, 20% of an organization’s employees generate 80% of the value creation, so assembling and empowering a team from those 20% fuels the acceleration of innovative solutions.
Michael Henman of Venture Team Building cites Five Habits of High Performing Teams:
- Set and review goals regularly When reviewing goals, here are some questions to reflect on: What factors contributed to attaining your goals? What big obstacles or impediments do you or your team members face in achieving your team goals? How can team members better support each other? Think of goal-setting as steering a ship: set a direction, and as the weather and wind changes, be prepared to make adjustments to your route so that you reach your destination safely (and in good time!) If you don’t set or review goals, your team is akin to a ship cruising to nowhere.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate! The best teams are the ones that communicate often, clearly and constructively. A high frequency of communication ensures that each member is aware of new developments and changes, as well as the progress of the project. It is not enough just to check in at the start and completion of a project — in a high-performing team, there is a constant flow of information and discussion that connects everyone to the project.
- Have a problem-solving mindset A key quality of a high-performing team is their ability to overcome obstacles. In a workplace, nothing is ever smooth-sailing. Problems come in many forms; it could be a delay from a supplier, technical breakdowns or an idea that didn’t translate in the real world. Regardless of the nature of a problem, a team with a problem-solving mindset is one that is best equipped to deal with obstacles. A team with a problem-solving mindset does not allow obstacles to set them back permanently — instead, they focus on solutions, improvements and coming up with new ways to attack the problem.
- Share resources and information As the saying goes, there’s no “I” in “team.” The best work is not achieved in isolation. In today’s corporate world, collaboration and synergy are crucial to optimize your team’s performance. You can utilize your regular team meetings as a forum to keep everyone updated on new developments, information or changes that will affect the team’s output. Encourage each person in the team to share their progress as well as any challenges they are facing — and also give room for others to offer help, resources or expertise to resolve those issues.
- Develop trust So one important way to develop trust between teammates is to develop a genuine relationship with each person that goes beyond just workplace matters. Find opportunities to connect with each other as individuals and not just as colleagues. Scheduling short icebreakers before every meeting is a simple method of getting to know your team. Through these games, you can discover commonalities such as hobbies, travel experiences or similar family backgrounds. Such information can provide a starting point for further conversation and connection. Building strong habits in a team takes time and requires concerted effort on a daily basis. So even after your team has gone through some team building activities to bring out these qualities, it’s important to reinforce them in the workplace. Little things such as putting up team goals up on a wall to remind everyone of what they’re working towards, or organizing regular after-work get-togethers to bond with your colleagues can go a long way towards building these five habits for strong teamwork.
Google studied 180 of their teams to find the Five Key Traits to a Successful Google Team. Who is on a team matters less than how the team members interact, structure their work, and view their contributions. Five key dynamics that set successful teams apart from other teams at Google are:
- Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed?
- Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high quality work on time?
- Structure and clarity: Are goals, roles, and execution plans on our team clear?
- Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?
- Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we’re doing matters?
Actions You Can Take
- If standing up a new project team, limit the number of core team members. The team can collaborate with additional experts as needed, but the core team should be small for day-to-day operations.
- If an existing team is too large to be effective, the leader could remove some lower performing members, break the team up into two or more teams with clear division of their scope of work and interfaces, or create a new small team of top talent to focus on priority outcomes.
- Work with leadership and resource managers to prioritize quality over quantity of personnel.
- Recruit high performers from across the enterprise and new hires who embrace the values outlined above. Explore using special hiring authorities for unique highly qualified experts. Section 804 explicitly gives the PM authority to recruit top talent.
- Focus energy on regularly maturing the team’s culture, trust, and communication.
- Collaboratively identify the team’s priority outcomes, everyone’s role, and shared responsibilities in achieving the outcomes.