case for the MRAP program due to its extraordinarily rapid maturation as an ACAT I program. The APBA that was approved at the lowest level–by Vice Admiral Steve Stanley, Director, Force Structure, Resources and Assessment for the Joint Staff, who was not the MDA–was not linked to any requirement. Secretary Young, the USDAT&L, ultimately approved the program’s APBA on June 16, 2008, but by that time more than 9,000 vehicles had already been produced, with approximately 5,000 more under contract. At that point, requirements for only 1,595 of the total 15,374 remained unfilled. Programs revolve around money, and programs cannot plan their budgets or Program Objective Memorandum (POM) forecast unless they have a valid requirement (Hansen, 2008, June 10). Without the APBA, there is no link to a requirement for which to justify a budget, yet the MRAP program was able to purchase nearly the full production run without an approved APBA or full rate production (FRP) decision.
The MRAP program CPD approval provides an additional example. The CPD, a requirements document needed prior to the Milestone C decision, precedes acquisition actions such as the FRP decision. Yet, for the MRAP program, testing was underway for seven manufacturers, with production contracts awarded to five companies for over 2,000 vehicles, before approval of an MRAP CPD. Such “leaning forward” and tailoring of the acquisition process was common throughout the program.
LRIP vs. FRP
Acquisition programs require a FRP decision by the MDA prior to entering into full production. Until that decision is approved, programs are limited by regulation to producing no more than 10% of their total acquisition objective. Two requirements for this decision are the operational test and evaluation reports and live fire test and evaluation reports. As of May 30, 2008, the MRAP program did not have those reports and therefore did not have a FRP decision. However, of a production objective of 15,374 vehicles, 14,146 were either already produced or on contract, greatly surpassing the LRIP restriction of 10% (Hansen, 2008, May 30). The JPO accomplished this through a series of MDA-approved LRIP purchases, another example of the tailored approach. Despite moving forward with production without the normally required documentation, the JPO