The Department of Defense (DoD) today announced the selection of 24 new-start projects being funded in fiscal 2009 under the Comparative Testing Office’s (CTO) Defense Acquisition Challenge (DAC) and Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) programs.
The DAC and FCT programs support the U.S. warfighter by leveraging innovative, mature equipment and technologies from domestic and coalition industry. Both programs provide jobs to U.S. workers while satisfying U.S. defense requirements. Performance measures include accelerating the acquisition process, reducing development costs, and providing opportunities for the insertion of innovative and cost-saving technologies into existing defense acquisition programs.
The DAC program gives domestic industries, especially those that are not major defense contractors, the opportunity to “challenge” current acquisition programs at the component, system, or sub-system level.
The FCT program demonstrates the U.S. commitment to the “two-way street” in defense procurement. It also gives our allies and coalition partners a chance to share their technology and to compete in the U.S. defense market. By focusing on finding innovative technologies and solutions to the current challenges to our military, DAC and FCT enhance interoperability with our coalition partners, strengthen defense relationships, and serve as a catalyst for partnering between domestic and overseas defense industries.
DAC projects have led to production in 36 U.S. states. FCT procurements have led to technology licensing agreements with foreign developers, allowing technology manufacturing in 33 U.S. states. An example of successfully licensing foreign technology for domestic production is the FCT program’s Buffalo mine-clearing vehicle, part of the DoD Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle initiative. While the licensed technology is from South Africa, the Buffalo vehicles used by the U.S. military are produced by U.S. workers in South Carolina.
Of the 12 new-start FCT and 12 new-start DAC projects for fiscal 2009, four are sponsored by the Army, eight by the Navy and Marine Corps, three by the Air Force, eight by the U.S. Special Operations Command, and one by the Defense Intelligence Agency.