Rapid Acquisition of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles
Gao ID: GAO-08-884R July 15, 2008
About 75 percent of casualties in current combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are attributed to improvised explosive devices (IED). To mitigate the threat from these weapons, the Department of Defense (DOD) initiated the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle program, which uses a tailored acquisition approach to rapidly acquire and field the vehicles. In May 2007, the Secretary of Defense affirmed MRAP as DOD's single most important acquisition program. To date, more than $22 billion has been appropriated to acquire more than 15,000 MRAP vehicles, and about 6,600 of the vehicles have been fielded. In view of the importance of this program and the significant cost involved, Congress asked us to (1) describe DOD's approach for and progress in implementing its strategy for rapidly acquiring and fielding MRAP vehicles, and (2) identify the challenges remaining for the program.
DOD used a tailored acquisition approach to rapidly acquire and field MRAP vehicles. The program established minimal operational requirements and relied heavily on commercially available products. The program also undertook a concurrent approach to producing, testing, and fielding the vehicles. To expand limited existing production capacity, the department awarded indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts to nine commercial sources for the purchase of up to 4,100 vehicles per year from each vendor. To evaluate design, performance, producibility, and sustainability, DOD committed to buy at least 4 vehicles from all vendors. According to program officials, subsequent delivery orders were based on a phased testing approach with progressively more advanced vehicle test results and other assessments. To expedite the fielding of the vehicles, mission equipment packages including radios and other equipment were integrated into the vehicles after they were purchased. Finally, DOD designated the MRAP program as DOD's highest priority acquisition, which helped contractors and other industry partners to more rapidly respond to the urgent need and meet production requirements. While the department's concurrent approach to producing, testing, and fielding the vehicles has provided an urgently needed operational capability, it has also increased performance, sustainability, and cost risks. For example, safety and performance testing is not yet complete, and any shortcomings revealed may require design changes or postmanufacturing fixes. Operating, maintaining, and sustaining a fleet of more than 15,000 fielded vehicles manufactured by at least five different vendors could also present significant challenges--especially for the Army, whose fleet will include more than 10,000 vehicles from five manufacturers. Future budgets could be significantly affected by these challenges, particularly since the department is still determining its cost estimate to operate and sustain the current MRAP quantities. At the same time, DOD is seeking to develop a replacement for the ubiquitous high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle and to fund various other high-priority weapon systems across the services. Finally, as threats change, performance requirements--and MRAP's role in DOD's overall tactical wheeled vehicle strategy--could change, further exacerbating these challenges.
GAO-08-884R, Rapid Acquisition of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles
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The Honorable Neil Abercrombie:
The Honorable Jim Saxton:
Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces:
Committee on Armed Services:
House of Representatives:
The Honorable Gene Taylor:
The Honorable Roscoe Bartlett:
Subcommittee on Seapower and Expeditionary Forces:
Committee on Armed Services:
House of Representatives:
Subject: Rapid Acquisition of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles:
About 75 percent of casualties in current combat operations in Iraq and
Afghanistan are attributed to improvised explosive devices (IED). To
mitigate the threat from these weapons, the Department of Defense (DOD)
initiated the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle program,
which uses a tailored acquisition approach to rapidly acquire and field
the vehicles. In May 2007, the Secretary of Defense affirmed MRAP as
DOD's single most important acquisition program. To date, more than $22
billion has been appropriated to acquire more than 15,000 MRAP
vehicles, and about 6,600 of the vehicles have been fielded.
In view of the importance of this program and the significant cost
involved, you asked us to (1) describe DOD's approach for and progress
in implementing its strategy for rapidly acquiring and fielding MRAP
vehicles, and (2) identify the challenges remaining for the program.
To describe DOD's approach for and progress in implementing its
strategy for rapidly acquiring and fielding MRAP vehicles, we reviewed
DOD's plans to buy, test, and field the vehicles and discussed the
plans with cognizant department and contractor officials. To identify
the remaining challenges for the program, we reviewed the results of
testing and DOD's plans to upgrade and sustain the vehicles. We
conducted this performance audit from June 2007 to July 2008 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those
standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain
sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that
the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and
conclusions based on our audit objectives.
Results in Brief:
DOD used a tailored acquisition approach to rapidly acquire and field
MRAP vehicles. The program established minimal operational requirements
and relied heavily on commercially available products. The program also
undertook a concurrent approach to producing, testing, and fielding the
vehicles. To expand limited existing production capacity, the
department awarded indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ)
contracts to nine commercial sources for the purchase of up to 4,100
vehicles per year from each vendor.[Footnote 1] To evaluate design,
performance, producibility, and sustainability, DOD committed to buy at
least 4 vehicles from all vendors. According to program officials,
subsequent delivery orders were based on a phased testing approach with
progressively more advanced vehicle test results and other
assessments.[Footnote 2] To expedite the fielding of the vehicles,
mission equipment packages including radios and other equipment were
integrated into the vehicles after they were purchased. Finally, DOD
designated the MRAP program as DOD's highest priority acquisition,
which helped contractors and other industry partners to more rapidly
respond to the urgent need and meet production requirements.
While the department's concurrent approach to producing, testing, and
fielding the vehicles has provided an urgently needed operational
capability, it has also increased performance, sustainability, and cost
risks. For example, safety and performance testing is not yet complete,
and any shortcomings revealed may require design changes or
postmanufacturing fixes. Operating, maintaining, and sustaining a fleet
of more than 15,000 fielded vehicles manufactured by at least five
different vendors could also present significant challenges--
especially for the Army, whose fleet will include more than 10,000
vehicles from five manufacturers. Future budgets could be significantly
affected by these challenges, particularly since the department is
still determining its cost estimate to operate and sustain the current
MRAP quantities. At the same time, DOD is seeking to develop a
replacement for the ubiquitous high-mobility multipurpose wheeled
vehicle and to fund various other high-priority weapon systems across
the services. Finally, as threats change, performance requirements--and
MRAP's role in DOD's overall tactical wheeled vehicle strategy--could
change, further exacerbating these challenges.
In February 2005, Marine Corps combatant commanders identified an
urgent operational need for armored tactical vehicles to increase crew
protection and mobility of Marines operating in hazardous fire areas
against IEDs, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms fire.[Footnote
3] In response, the Marine Corps identified the solution as the up-
armored high-mobility multi purpose wheeled vehicle (HMMWV). Over the
next 18 months, however, combatant commanders continued to identify a
requirement for more robust mine-protected vehicles. According to the
acquisition plan, in late 2006 the Marine Corps awarded a sole source
IDIQ contract and subsequently placed orders for 280 vehicles to
respond to the urgent requirement while it conducted a competitive
acquisition for the balance of the vehicles. In February 2007, the
Assistant Secretary of the Navy (ASN) for Research, Development, and
Acquisition (RDA) approved MRAP's entry into production as a rapid
acquisition capability. In September 2007, the Under Secretary of
Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics designated MRAP as a
major defense acquisition program[Footnote 4] with the Navy as the
Executive Agent and the Marine Corps Systems Command as the Joint
Program Executive Officer.
DOD's framework for translating mission needs into systems dictates
that acquisition programs follow a process that includes:
* determining the appropriate technologies to be integrated into a full
* evaluating through testing whether systems are operationally
effective, suitable, and survivable; and:
* reducing manufacturing risk and ensuring operational supportability.
This process is carried out sequentially with each step being mostly
completed before the next step begins. The process does, however,
permit tailoring procedures to achieve cost, schedule, and performance
goals consistent with applicable laws and regulations. Accordingly, the
ASN (RDA) directed that the MRAP be acquired as rapidly as possible but
without skipping any of the mandatory and required steps normally
associated with an acquisition program.
Quantities to be fielded quickly grew from the initial 1,169 vehicles
for the Marine Corps identified in the 2005 urgent need statement to
the current approved requirement of 15,838 vehicles split between the
Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Special Operations Command
(SOCOM), plus 133 for ballistic testing.
Table 1: Approved MRAP Acquisition Quantities by Military Service and
Service: Marine Corps;
Service: Ballistic testing;
Source: Joint Staff.
[End of table]
Three versions of the MRAP vehicle are being acquired for different
* Category I, the smallest version of MRAP, is primarily intended for
operations in the urban combat environment, and can carry up to 7
* Category II is a multi-mission platform capable of supporting
security, convoy escort, troop or cargo transport, medical, explosive
ordnance disposal, or combat engineer operations, and carries up to 11
* Category III, the largest of the MRAP family, is primarily intended
for the role of mine and IED clearance operations, and carries up to 13
MRAP vehicles are purchased without mission equipment--such as
communications and situational awareness subsystems--that must be added
before the vehicles can be fielded to the user. The military services
buy the subsystems for their vehicles and provide them as government
furnished equipment (GFE) to be installed at a government integration
facility located at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in
Charleston, South Carolina.
DOD also has a requirement for vehicles with enhanced capabilities,
which adds greater crew protection and mobility against a more advanced
threat. The Army and Marine Corps are exploring multiple solutions
including a new vehicle, the MRAP II, and, according to the program
office, competitively awarded two contracts in December 2007 to
purchase test vehicles for ballistic and automotive tests. The MRAP II
solicitation indicated that the resulting IDIQ contracts could be used
to order production quantities.
DOD Used a Tailored Acquisition Approach to Rapidly Field a Class of
Vehicles that Meets Minimum Requirements for Crew Protection:
DOD adopted a tailored acquisition approach to acquiring the MRAP
vehicles in order to field the most survivable vehicles as quickly as
possible. The department awarded indefinite delivery, indefinite
quantity contracts to nine vendors; implemented a phased test plan that
emphasizes crew protection; established a delivery schedule to field
vehicles as quickly as possible; and developed a sustainment concept
that includes a combination of contractor and military personnel
logistical support. The program's industry partners facilitated rapid
fielding by generally meeting or exceeding planned production rates.
Contracting Strategy Created Flexible Ordering Options:
To date, the Marine Corps Systems Command, the buying command for the
MRAP, has issued delivery orders for 14,173[Footnote 6] total vehicles
or about 90 percent of the current requirement of 15,838 vehicles
approved by the Joint Requirement Oversight Council.
Table 2: Planned MRAP Delivery Order Quantities by Vendor:
Vendor: Navistar Defense;
Vendor: Force Protection Industries;
Vendor: BAE Tactical Vehicle Systems;
Vendor: BAE Ground Systems;
Vendor: General Dynamics Land Systems -;
Source: Joint Program Office.
[A] These vehicles will not be fielded.
[End of table]
DOD recognized that no single vendor could provide all of the vehicles
needed to meet requirements quickly enough and invited vendors to offer
their nondevelopmental solutions. The request for proposal made clear
that the government planned to award one or more IDIQ contracts to
those vendors that were determined to be the best value to the
government. The Marine Corps awarded IDIQ contracts to nine vendors and
issued the first delivery orders in early 2007 for 4 vehicles from each
vendor for initial limited ballistic and automotive testing. One vendor
could not deliver test articles in the time required and the Marine
Corps terminated that contract at no cost to the government. According
to program officials, vehicles from another vendor did not meet minimum
requirements and the Marine Corps terminated the contract for
convenience. These actions reduced the number of vendors to seven and
the Marine Corps issued a round of delivery orders to five of these
vendors for a combined total of 395 vehicles.
As testing on vehicles continued, the Marine Corps issued additional
delivery orders to two more vendors. In the end, five vendors received
the bulk of delivery orders; the mix of firms included four that had
extensive experience producing a high volume of military or commercial
vehicles and one that was relatively new to mass military vehicle
The Marine Corps also contracted for initial sustainment of MRAP
vehicles. At the early stages of the program, DOD assumed a small
quantity of vehicles would be needed and they would have a limited
service life span. Therefore, the IDIQ contracts contained 1 year of
contractor logistical support with options for additional years. These
contracts also included one field service representative for every 10
vehicles.[Footnote 7] As required quantities escalated and a much
longer vehicle service life span was envisioned, DOD determined this
approach was not practical and began adjusting its long-term support
strategy for MRAP vehicles from maintenance by contractors to
maintenance by military personnel.
Highly Concurrent Test Strategy Emphasized Crew Protection:
Conventional DOD acquisition policy dictates that weapons be fully
tested before they are fielded to the user.[Footnote 8] However, the
need to begin fielding survivable vehicles as quickly as possible
resulted in a phased approach designed to quickly identify vehicles
that met the requirement for crew protection so they could be rapidly
fielded. The test plan included three phases of developmental tests
(DT) that incrementally raised the bar and operational test and
evaluation (IOT&E). This approach resulted in a high degree of overlap
between testing and fielding of the MRAP vehicles; orders for thousands
of vehicles were placed before operational testing began and orders for
thousands more were placed before it was completed. Figure 1 shows the
concurrent nature of the overall test plan.
Figure 1: MRAP Developmental and Operational Test Plan:
This figure is a chart showing the MRAP developmental and operational
[See PDF for image]
DT Phase I:
FY 2007, 2nd and 3rd quarter.
DT Phase II:
FY 2007, 3rd quarter through FY 2008, 3rd quarter.
DT Phase III:
FY 2007, 4th quarter through FY 2008, 4th quarter.
FY 2008, 1st quarter through 4th quarter.
Source: GAO based on DOD information.
[End of figure]
All three phases of developmental testing--which began in March 2007
and are scheduled for completion in August 2008--evaluated ballistic
and automotive performance of vehicles. Phase I included a limited
evaluation by users. Phase II further evaluated vehicles at the desired
level of performance against the ballistic threat, added more endurance
miles to the automotive portion of the test, and included mission
equipment such as radios and other electronic systems. Phase III raised
the bar for ballistic performance to the emerging threat and assessed
nonballistic protection to include near-lightning strikes, high-
altitude electromagnetic pulse, and nuclear, biological, and chemical
decontamination tests.[Footnote 9] The automotive portion of the test
increased endurance to 12,000 miles per vehicle.
As indicated in figure 1, DOD is also testing vehicles to determine
their operational survivability, effectiveness, and suitability when
operated by marines, sailors, and soldiers in simulated operational
conditions using profiles that reflect missions found in current combat
operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Vehicles from four vendors have
completed operational testing; testing on vehicles from another vendor
is scheduled to be complete in June 2008. Analysis is planned to be
complete by August 2008.
Mission Equipment Installed after MRAP Delivery to Expedite Fielding:
All MRAP vehicles are delivered to the government without mission
equipment, which must be added before the vehicles can be fielded to
the user. Mission equipment includes radios and vehicle intercoms;
situational awareness hardware such as global positioning systems and
visual display enhancements; and countermeasures such as IED defeat
systems. Some of the equipment differs across the services--for
example, the Army and Marine Corps use different communication systems-
-and each service purchases its own specific government furnished
equipment (GFE) for installation on its vehicles.
The Space and Naval Warfare Center (SPAWAR), located in Charleston,
South Carolina, integrates MRAP vehicles with GFE on 25 integration
lines prior to fielding. According to a senior SPAWAR official, the
center provides an optimal location for GFE integration because it has
an experienced integration workforce; on-site test facility; and
accessibility to air, ship, rail, and interstate assets. SPAWAR opened
two other facilities to assist with the integration process: one in
Orangeburg, South Carolina, provided for a surge capability and served
as a back-up location in case of a natural disaster at the Charleston
site. Currently, 13 lines are being used to integrate vehicles and 2
more lines could be activated if needed. Another site in Kuwait,
consisting of 5 integration bays, was used to integrate limited numbers
of one vendor's vehicles destined for delivery to units in the region.
Integration on those vehicles was completed in May 2008.
SPAWAR faced initial challenges in starting up the integration facility
and ramping up installation to meet the demand, but implemented changes
to overcome the challenges and expedite the process, for example:
* Before workers could begin installing GFE on any vehicles, it was
necessary to standardize a process that could be replicated. This
process differed depending on the vendor, the type of vehicle (such as
a category I or II, and ambulance), and the military service that would
use the vehicle. Ultimately, there were 27 major configurations of GFE
placement on the vehicles. Placement of GFE and antennas also had to be
tested to ensure that operation of one piece of equipment did not
interfere with another.
* Some work must be done on the vehicles before integration can begin,
costing time. Wiring on the vehicles had to be reconfigured first to
accommodate the GFE. Also, a rack used to hold communications equipment
in one vendor's vehicles had to be dismantled, rotated 90 degrees, and
reinstalled so the equipment would fit. Some of this work is now being
done by contractors before the vehicles are delivered to the
* Vehicles sometimes were received with known missing parts or needing
work prior to undergoing integration. As a result, a field service
representative from the vendor would have to correct the problem, which
sometimes delayed the integration of equipment onto the vehicles.
According to an official in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the
Defense Contract Management Agency, working with SPAWAR, took over
responsibility to ensure these items were tracked and resolved prior to
the transportation of these vehicles to theater.
* Many delivery orders called for vendors to deliver vehicles at the
end of the month, causing a surge of vehicles to arrive at the same
time. These peaks in delivery often resulted in a backlog of vehicles
waiting to begin the integration process. The program office attempted
to reduce surges in deliveries and establish a continuous flow of
vehicles by specifying weekly delivery from the five vendors delivering
the bulk of the vehicles.
* Vehicles arrived in batches from different vendors, for different
customers, and of different sizes, which resulted in a mix of vehicles
being integrated at one time. For example, in the last week in August
2007, 83 vehicles arrived from five vendors for three different users.
SPAWAR cross-trained workers to install the GFE on multiple vehicle
configurations, which according to SPAWAR officials allowed them to be
The program office established a goal of completing the integration
process in 7 days from the day a vehicle arrived at the facility until
it was ready to ship. The first few vehicles took much longer, but the
process improved over time. Vehicles bought under the initial IDIQ
contract began arriving at SPAWAR in early March 2007. The first 10
vehicles to be integrated did not begin the process for an average of
almost 14 days and took on average 14 days to be completed.[Footnote
10] In the first week of September 2007, 15 vehicles were integrated,
beginning on average 10 days after they arrived and finishing in a
little more than 9 days on average. During the first week of March
2008, workers processed 276 vehicles on average in less than 10 days,
including less than 2 days to actually install the equipment. To date,
integration has kept pace with production and delivery to theater, and
in April 2008 SPAWAR integrated the highest number in 1 month--1,157
vehicles--which exceeded the projected capability of 1,000 vehicles per
DOD Communicated Urgency to Industry, and Industry Responded:
DOD leadership took several steps to communicate the importance of
producing survivable vehicles as quickly as possible, for example,
* In May 2007, the Secretary of Defense designated MRAP as DOD's single
most important acquisition program and established the MRAP Task Force
to integrate planning, analysis, and actions to accelerate MRAP
* The Secretary also approved a special designation for MRAP--a DX
rating--that requires related contracts to be accepted and performed on
a priority basis over other contracts without this rating.[Footnote 12]
* The Secretary of the Army waived a restriction on armor plate steel,
which expanded the countries from which DOD could procure
* DOD allocated funds to increase steel and tire production capacity
for MRAP vehicles as these materials were identified as potential
limiting factors for the MRAP industrial base.
* Senior Office of Secretary of Defense officials and lawmakers also
visited key locations to witness firsthand the efforts of vehicle
producers and integrators.
² The Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC)[Footnote 14] utilized
the Joint Allocation Distribution Board[Footnote 15] to manage MRAP
vehicle distribution among the services.
Major vendors and key subcontractors responded to the urgency
communicated by the department. According to vendor officials from four
of the companies, they collectively invested a substantial amount of
their own capital in anticipation of MRAP work. For example, some
vendors purchased steel and other critical components in advance of
delivery orders for MRAP vehicles in order to meet projected time
lines. In other cases, vendors purchased or developed new facilities
for MRAP production. Multiple vendors also formed teaming arrangements
to meet the increase in vehicle delivery demands.
Ultimately, MRAP vendors have successfully increased their production
rates to meet the delivery requirement (see fig. 2).[Footnote 16]
Deliveries began in February 2007 with one vendor delivering 10
vehicles. By September 2007, the five vendors that received the
majority of the delivery orders had collectively delivered 871
vehicles; by March 2008--a little more than a year after the contracts
were awarded--6,997 vehicles had been delivered. As of May 2008,
vendors had collectively delivered 9,121 vehicles. Unless additional
delivery orders are issued, monthly vehicle deliveries will decline as
manufacture of vehicles under contract ramps back down.
Figure 2: Actual Versus Planned Production (monthly):
This figure is a combination line graph showing actual versus planned
production (monthly). The X axis represents the month and year, and the
Y axis represents the deliveries.
[See PDF for image]
Planned Deliveries: 74;
Actual Deliveries: 64.
Planned Deliveries: 90;
Actual Deliveries: 72.
Planned Deliveries: 154;
Actual Deliveries: 161.
Planned Deliveries: 199;
Actual Deliveries: 183.
Planned Deliveries: 269;
Actual Deliveries: 314.
Planned Deliveries: 418;
Actual Deliveries: 453.
Planned Deliveries: 929;
Actual Deliveries: 842.
Planned Deliveries: 1076;
Actual Deliveries: 1189.
Planned Deliveries: 1265;
Actual Deliveries: 929.
Planned Deliveries: 1293;
Actual Deliveries: 1428.
Planned Deliveries: 1097;
Actual Deliveries: 1285.
Planned Deliveries: 1100;
Actual Deliveries: 1042.
Planned Deliveries: 1068;
Actual Deliveries: 1082.
Planned Deliveries: 960.
Planned Deliveries: 1030.
Planned Deliveries: 997.
Planned Deliveries: 954.
Planned Deliveries: 568.
Planned Deliveries: 392.
Source: GAO analysis of Joint Program Office data.
[End of figure]
Evolving Threats and Rapid Acquisition of MRAP Capability Create
Although DOD's MRAP acquisition approach has provided a rapid solution
to battlefield threats, the approach has also created a number of
challenges in acquiring and sustaining mine resistant vehicles--
challenges that will likely have short-and long-term impacts on
capability and budgets. First, the highly concurrent test and
production strategy with its emphasis on crew protection identified
shortcomings that will need to be corrected and retested, as will the
next generation of MRAP vehicles. Second, while the program's
contracting strategy may have helped to maximize vehicle production,
the long-term sustainment plans to support multiple vehicle designs are
still being developed. Third, DOD has yet to determine the funding
required to support the MRAP over the longer term. Finally, evolving
threats to tactical wheeled vehicles in combat operations are likely to
affect future acquisitions, operations, and industry capacity to
produce MRAP and other tactical wheeled vehicles.
Testing Strategy Provides Little Time for Needed Modifications:
The highly concurrent test and production strategy for the MRAP vehicle
helped to quickly identify the vehicles that met requirements for crew
protection but resulted in the fielding of vehicles with significant
operational issues as well as the acquisition of a small quantity of
vehicles that won't be fielded. While most of the vehicles met
requirements against the ballistic threat in the first phase of
developmental testing, automotive testing revealed shortcomings in
reliability, mobility and handling, and safety among all vendors. Some
of these shortcomings are affecting whether vehicles are suitable for
some missions.[Footnote 17]
A number of these issues will require modifying the vehicle designs,
postproduction fixes, or adapting the way vehicles are used. Changes to
vehicle design that are introduced into the production line could
require the retrofitting of thousands of vehicles already delivered,
potentially impacting the program's cost and delivery schedule. Some of
the changes to vehicle design will likely result in the need for more
testing to ensure that the new designs still meet requirements and no
additional problems exist. These tests, which include automotive and
ballistic tests for the MRAP II--a more robust version of the baseline
MRAP--are currently being conducted but won't be completed until spring
2009. Operational tests for the MRAP II won't be complete until fall
2009. If tests identify shortcomings, these would also need to be
addressed and retested, further impacting program cost and schedule. In
addition, the government issued delivery orders to two vendors for more
than 100 vehicles that ultimately won't be fielded. Vehicles from both
of the vendors met the contract requirements and were accepted by the
government, but multiple problems were discovered during the first
phase of developmental ballistic and automotive testing that precluded
their fielding as MRAP vehicles. Most of the vehicles have been
transferred to another government agency, but disposition on a few
vehicles is still pending, and the vehicles are in storage.
Contracting Strategy Creates Sustainment Challenges:
While procuring MRAPs from multiple vendors accelerated production and
fielding, it will also complicate vehicle maintenance and support
because each vendor's vehicle design is unique and requires specific
operating procedures and maintenance. Over 15,000 vehicles from at
least five different vendors will eventually be in DOD's fleet. The
Army's fleet alone will consist of over 10,000 vehicles from five
To ease maintenance and support concerns in the near term, the MRAP
program office established a centralized training entity where
maintainers can be cross-trained on multiple vendors' vehicles.
However, this effort is still in the early stages, and the benefit will
be slow to propagate throughout the services' maintenance
organizations. In addition, ongoing vehicle upgrades in theater may
require further upgrades to meet new emerging requirements, further
complicating maintenance and configuration management efforts.
DOD's plan for logistical support beyond the first 2 years is still
being developed. A key challenge for DOD is to effectively manage
maintenance personnel and vehicle repair parts without sacrificing
vehicle operational availability. DOD is transitioning from support
provided by contractor personnel to support provided by military
personnel. In the interim, a hybrid approach is being used. The
original logistical support concept was based on a much smaller vehicle
quantity requirement and shorter assumed vehicle life span. Finally,
the proprietary nature of these vehicles complicates logistical support
because some specific vehicle parts must be obtained for each vendor's
vehicle variant. There is, however, limited component commonality among
most MRAP vehicle types and with other existing DOD vehicle platforms.
Long-Term Budget Challenges:
While the MRAP program is critical to current combat operations, DOD
has yet to determine the potential affect of the program on its future
budgets. Program funding to date, consistent with most funding to
support current combat operations, has largely been provided through
supplemental appropriations outside the normal budget process or by
reprogramming of funds already appropriated for other programs to MRAP.
The total estimated life-cycle cost to upgrade, test, operate, and
maintain MRAP is still being determined, and total program costs may
not be included in the department's annual budget request to Congress.
Since September 2001, funding for current combat operations has
generally been provided through supplemental appropriations as
emergency funding. The MRAP program, being a critical part of these
operations, has also been largely funded through either supplemental
appropriations or reprogramming of funds already appropriated for other
programs to MRAP. Congress appropriated about $3 billion in fiscal year
2007 supplemental funding and approved an additional $1.6 billion for
reprogramming. Congress also appropriated about $17 billion in fiscal
year 2008 supplemental funding. This trend will likely continue as seen
in DOD's recent request for an additional $2.6 billion in fiscal year
2009 supplemental funding for sustainment.
While annual emergency appropriations expedite funding for the program,
they can also obscure future budgetary impacts. Supplemental
appropriations are not typically included in DOD's long-term funding
blueprint and are not subject to the same level of scrutiny as the
regular budget and appropriations process. The military services
consequently have not had to fully account for long-term budgetary
affects and will eventually face substantial operational support costs
in their normal budgetary plans.
The total estimated life-cycle cost to upgrade, test, operate, and
maintain the MRAP program is still being determined, as there are many
key unknown variables such as the Army's final vehicle requirement.
However, the recently approved acquisition program baseline estimates
total development and production costs to be almost $29
billion.[Footnote 18],[Footnote 19] The ultimate price for MRAP will
depend on future decisions on its role in the department's tactical
wheeled vehicle strategy and how many, if any, of the fleet will remain
on active service or how many are stored.
Long-term sustainment costs for the MRAP program could significantly
affect future budgets because while the costs to develop and produce a
weapon system are significant, they usually represent only about 28
percent of the total ownership costs. Operating and support costs, on
the other hand, typically represent the highest portion of the total
ownership cost of a weapon system because they include the cost to
operate the system and keep it ready for action over many years. Long-
term sustainment costs for the MRAP could consume a substantial share
of DOD's budgetary resources because the useful life for MRAP vehicles
is now estimated at 15 years, much longer than the program office
initially estimated. In addition, DOD has limited knowledge of vehicle
reliability and key component replacement rates, which raises further
concerns about the total life-cycle cost of these vehicles. DOD's Cost
Analysis Improvement Group has been tasked with independently assessing
the cost for the program, which should provide more insight into the
demands the program may place on future budgets.
MRAP operation and sustainment costs will also compete for limited
budgetary resources with other major DOD acquisition efforts. The Army,
which will have in its inventory over 75 percent of all MRAP vehicles
produced, will be particularly pressed to balance ongoing MRAP
sustainment costs with competing programmatic and service-level
priorities, such as its force modernization efforts. MRAP costs may
compete with other critical programs such as the Future Combat System,
which is the centerpiece of the Army's effort to transition to a
lighter, more agile, and more capable combat force and is now estimated
to cost $160.9 billion. Also, funding to develop the Joint Light
Tactical Vehicle program, which will replace HMMWVs across the
services, could be constrained by MRAP funding requirements.
Affect of Evolving Threat:
The threat facing tactical wheeled vehicles continues to evolve. When
DOD began adding armor to the HMMWVs, enemy insurgents responded by
increasing the size and explosive force of IEDs and by employing
explosively formed penetrator (EFP) weapons that are capable of
penetrating heavily armored vehicles. The baseline MRAP vehicle was
required to provide protection against mines, IEDs, small arms, and
DOD is considering increased performance requirements so that MRAP can
continue to provide required levels of crew protection. This could
require additional investment in technology and in its application to
existing and future tactical wheeled vehicle fleets. Multiple efforts
are under way to improve crew protection of the baseline MRAP vehicle
against EFP weapons, but doing so will add significant weight to these
vehicles and potentially compromise other aspects of vehicle
performance. In addition, some vehicles may require modification before
the armor can be added. The government has also awarded indefinite
delivery, indefinite quantity contracts to two vendors for the MRAP II,
a more robust version of the baseline vehicle. Automotive and ballistic
tests for those vehicles are currently being conducted. Initial results
of testing were not available as of May 2008, but both could identify
shortcomings, which would have to be addressed and retested.
The evolving threat could also affect DOD's plans for acquiring
tactical wheeled vehicles. Until the requirements and the acquisition
quantities to address this threat are determined, DOD will have
incomplete knowledge of the program's potential role in its tactical
wheeled vehicle portfolio. This increases the risk of capability
duplication between its tactical wheeled vehicle systems.
Finally, DOD's future tactical wheeled vehicle portfolio likely will
draw on current MRAP suppliers. Until vehicle performance requirements
and sustainment needs are known, industry's ability to meet total
tactical vehicle demands cannot be adequately assessed. For example,
the armor requirement for advanced protection has not been established,
and its effects on other system components, such as tires and axles,
have yet to be determined. The armor requirement ultimately determined
may require additional vehicle design changes that could have ripple
effects on an industrial base that has already been strained by demands
for rapid production of new vehicle designs. Future tactical wheeled
vehicle programs will likely draw on the existing supply base. DOD will
be reporting on the tactical wheeled vehicle strategy, including the
MRAP, this summer.
Agency Comments and Our Evaluation:
We provided a draft of this report to the Department of Defense, and it
provided technical comments, which were incorporated as appropriate.
Scope and Methodology:
To describe DOD's approach for and progress in implementing its
strategy for rapidly acquiring and fielding MRAP vehicles, we obtained
and reviewed budget and planning documents and interviewed numerous DOD
officials. To evaluate progress in ballistic and automotive testing, we
obtained and reviewed test plans and reports, and discussed the test
program with program office and test officials. We observed multiple
test events at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland and Yuma Proving
Ground, Arizona. To determine whether the MRAP could be produced in
sufficient quantities to support requirements, we obtained delivery
status reports and discussed production issues with program office and
DOD officials. We also visited four major MRAP prime contractors: BAE
Tactical Vehicle Systems, Sealy, Texas; BAE Ground Systems, York,
Pennsylvania; Force Protection Industries, Ladson, South Carolina; and
Navistar Defense, Warrenville, Illinois, and West Point, Mississippi.
To determine whether the vehicles were being delivered in a timely
manner we obtained vehicle deployment status reports, interviewed
agency and program office officials, and visited the primary
integration site, the Space and Naval Warfare Center (SPAWAR) located
in Charleston, South Carolina.
To identify the short-and long-term challenges remaining for the
program, we obtained additional information and interviewed officials
from the Red River Army Depot, Texarkana, Texas; Marine Corps
Capabilities Development Directorate, Virginia; and Army Operations and
Plans, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
We did not assess whether the Marine Corps Systems Command competitive
contracting procedures were in accordance with the Federal Acquisition
Regulation since this was not within the scope of our work. The
Department of Defense Inspector General is currently conducting a
review of MRAP contracting procedures and expects to issue a report in
We conducted our review from May 2007 to May 2008 in accordance with
generally accepted government auditing standards.
We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Defense, the
Commandant of the Marine Corps, and interested congressional
committees. We will also make copies available to others upon request.
In addition, the report will be available at no charge on the GAO Web
site at [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. If you or your staff has any
questions concerning this report, please contact me at (202) 512-4841
or email@example.com. Key contributors to this assignment were David
Best, Assistant Director; Dayna Foster, Mike Aiken; Charlie Shivers;
Erin Stockdale; J. Kristopher Keener; and Karen Sloan.
Michael J. Sullivan, Director:
Acquisition and Sourcing Management:
[End of section]
 An IDIQ contract is a type of indefinite delivery contract that
provides for an indefinite quantity of supplies or services within
stated limits, during a fixed period. The government places orders for
individual requirements. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 16.504.
 Program officials indicated the following factors were included in
the decision to place orders: Test results, cost, production rates,
production quality and risks, supportability, avoiding a production
break, vehicle allocation and configuration, and funding availability.
 Similar needs had also previously been identified by Marine Corps
commanders going back to January 2004, leading to the development of
armor kits for tactical vehicles. (See GAO, Defense Logistics: Lack of
Synchronized Approach between the Marine Corps and Army Affected the
Timely Production and Installation of Marine Corps Truck Armor, GAO-06-
274 (Washington, D.C.: June 22, 2006).
 DOD designates acquisition programs based on their location in the
acquisition process, dollar value, and special interest. A major
defense acquisition program is a major system with an eventual total
expenditure for procurement of more than $2.19 billion in fiscal year
2000 constant dollars.
 Only the Marine Corps will acquire these vehicles. The Army is
pursuing a separate acquisition program to replace its current fleet of
vehicles that perform this mission.
 This includes delivery orders for 110 vehicles from the two vendors
whose vehicles did not meet requirements and will not be fielded. The
vehicles are in storage awaiting a decision on their disposition. It
also includes 12 MRAP II test vehicles acquired under different
 Field service representatives provide maintenance support,
including repair and replacement of major components of the vehicle to
maintain combat readiness.
 Successful development test and evaluation to assess technical
progress against critical technical parameters, early operational
assessments, and the use of modeling and simulation to demonstrate
system integration are critical prior to beginning production. However,
the process permits tailoring of the test program when necessary to
support urgent needs. DOD Instruction 5000.2, Operation of the Defense
Acquisition System (May 12, 2003).
 Vehicles used in ballistic testing were repaired by vendors to be
used in subsequent phases of testing.
 This included the time to standardize the process for installing
 The MRAP Task Force is chaired by the Under Secretary of Defense
for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. The objective of the task
force is to expedite fielding of MRAP vehicles to support combat
operations. The task force regularly reports to the Secretary of
 15 C.F.R. § 700.1-.14; DOD 4400.1-M; FAR Subpart 11.6.
 Recent defense appropriation acts have provided that none of the
funds appropriated therein may be used for the procurement of carbon,
alloy, or armor steel plate for use in any government-owned facility or
property under control of the Department of Defense which were not
melted and rolled in the United States or Canada. If the Secretary of
the military department responsible makes certain certifications to the
appropriations committees, this restriction may be waived. See e.g.,
Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2008, Pub. L.
No. 110-116 § 8026 (2007); see also, Department of Defense FAR
 The JROC is an advisory council that assists the Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff in identifying and assessing the priorities for
joint military requirements to meet current and future military
capabilities. Chaired by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, the council is comprised of a senior officer from each of the
military services. The JROC approved MRAP vehicle requirements as they
 The Joint Allocation Distribution Board (JADB) coordinates with
U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), the military services, and Special
Operations Command (SOCOM) on the allocation of vehicles to ensure that
the fielding of MRAP vehicles meets warfighter operational requirements
and individual service concerns for long-term supportability. The JADB
is comprised of service, CENTCOM, and SOCOM representatives.
 Parts shortages at two key vendors caused a delivery shortfall in
January 2008, but the vendors caught up in February and March.
 Specific details on shortcomings cannot be addressed in this
report due to security classification.
 The $29 billion represents the threshold value, or estimated upper
limit, of program acquisition costs.
 DOD's Cost Analysis Improvement Group (CAIG) noted that the nature
of MRAP contracts prevents them from gaining direct access to actual
cost information, which is a normal part of their cost estimation
practice. This could raise concerns about the accuracy of future cost
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