manufacturer facilities and upon arrival for integration at SPAWAR. This conditional acceptance applied only to minor deficiencies and non-critical parts shortages and came with a mutually agreed-upon plan for correction, a suspense date, and any necessary contract remedies.28 Compared to standard acquisition programs of a non-rapid nature, this conditional acceptance is unique; DCMA would normally require correction of all deficiencies prior to acceptance. In addition, conditional acceptance inherently adds risk due to the addition of tracking requirements and the chance that deficiencies can be passed to the user. In the case of the MRAP, however, the need was of such importance that continuous flow of the vehicles toward warfighters was the primary concern (Gregory, 2008, August 5). The MRAP JPO therefore implemented a process to make this continuous flow of vehicles possible, allowing small deficiencies to pass through with the understanding that the manufacturers would correct those deficiencies before final delivery to users. This should not be considered a best practice for most programs, however, because even small deficiencies can cause the user to lose confidence in a product, and conditional acceptance will inevitably result in some of these deficiencies reaching the user.
A notable feature of the DCMA quality assurance program for the MRAP vehicle is that it attempted to identify all defects prior to shipment overseas, rather than waiting for the Product Quality Deficiency Report (PQDR) process that would eventually identify defects in the field. Any quality issues are captured in written form as part of the PQDR Process, an investigation is performed to determine the root cause of the issue, the results are screened for validity, and the PM then takes any necessary action to resolve the problem (Marine Corps Logistics Command, 2008). In the MRAP program, however, DCMA personnel inspect every vehicle, finding issues that would normally be addressed in the PQDR process and fixing them through teaming arrangements with manufacturer FSRs. DCMA typically tries to do this in all production efforts; the difference for the
28 The PM detailed the conditional acceptance policy in a program policy letter. This policy limited
conditional acceptance to minor deficiencies or non-critical parts shortages. Any deficiencies related to safety, survivability, drivability, or HVAC system operation were generally not authorized for conditional acceptance; authority for conditional acceptance in these cases was held at the PM level. Such vehicles were considered shipped in place, with deficiencies corrected before shipment from the manufacturer facility (Mann, 2007).