In late 2006, the Department of Defense (DoD) launched a major acquisition program to rapidly procure thousands of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs)1 for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. With a raised, V-shaped, armored hull, MRAPs provide improved protection against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)–the insurgent weapon of choice and greatest casualty producer in Iraq–when compared to up- armored high mobility, multi-wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs) and other flat-bottomed vehicles. The unprecedented scope of the MRAP program, combined with its rapid execution, presents an opportunity to study a major rapid acquisition program.
In standard DoD acquisitions for major systems, the source selection process typically results in a contract award to one manufacturer. This provides a common design that simplifies training and sustainment operations. In the case of the MRAP program, however, mounting causalities from IEDs made the program the number one
DoD acquisition priority. capability into the hands of supplier had the capacity to
Consequently, decision-makers emphasized getting the warfighters at the earliest opportunity. Because no single quickly build the required number of vehicles, the program
used multiple vehicle designs Although this makes the fullest
from multiple manufacturers to use of the defense industrial base
meet the requirement. and provides the fastest
production in the in the long run.
The purpose of this research is to document and analyze the process of acquiring the MRAP vehicle from the Operational Needs Statement (ONS) in 2005 to the time of this writing (October 2008). The objective is to focus on all aspects of rapid procurement
1 It has become common for the acronym “MRAP” to connote “Mine Resistant Ambush Protected
vehicle” (with the word “vehicle” being implied in the acronym). The use of “MRAP” in this project reflects this widespread terminology, and the MRAP vehicle is sometimes referred to simply as “the MRAP.”