The Department of Defense’s (DOD) office of inspector general (OIG) conducted an audit of DOD's use of the middle tier of acquisition (MTA) pathway and found that acquisition personnel employed the MTA approach for 11 reviewed programs in accordance with the department's guidance to rapidly build and deploy technologies to meet the needs of warfighters.
The OIG said in a Sept. 28th report that the use of MTA pathways helped streamline acquisition processes and accelerate prototyping and fielding efforts, leading to increased effectiveness and efficiencies.
There are two MTA types and the first is the Rapid Prototyping Pathway, which focuses on innovative tech platforms to accelerate the development of fieldable prototypes to address emerging military requirements. The Rapid Fielding Pathway deals with proven systems to deploy production quantities of updated or new platforms.
The inspector general also found that acquisition executives at DOD backed the use of MTA pathways, while program managers and program management offices employed the flexibilities that MTA pathways offer.
According to the report, DOD components had 69 programs using MTA pathways valued at approximately $31.1 billion as of Sept. 30, 2020. Of those programs, 56 are rapid prototyping initiatives and the rest are using the Rapid Fielding Pathway.
“Because the MTA programs are still in the early stages of execution and DoD acquisition reform remains a work in progress, the DoD must continue to balance management and oversight of these programs with the risk involved to ensure the efficient delivery of needed, useful, capabilities at a fair and reasonable cost,” the report reads.