This 15-page issuance establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for the management of the MTA for rapid prototyping and rapid fielding in Section 804 of Public Law 114-92.

DoDI 5000.80, Operation of the Middle Tier of Acquisition (MTA), December 30, 2019 is published here and the policy prelude follows:

a. The overarching management principles that govern the defense acquisition system (DAS) are described in DoD Directive 5000.01 and DoD Instruction 5000.02. The objective of the DAS is to support the National Defense Strategy, through the development of a more lethal force based on U.S. technological innovation and a culture of performance that yields a decisive and sustained U.S. military advantage. To achieve that objective, the Department will employ an adaptive acquisition framework comprised of acquisition pathways, shown in Figure 1, each tailored for the unique characteristics and risk profile of the capability being acquired. The adaptive acquisition framework supports the DAS with the objective of delivering effective, secure, supportable, and affordable solutions to the end user while enabling execution at the speed of relevance. This issuance describes the responsibilities of principal acquisition officials and the purpose and key characteristics of the MTA acquisition pathway.

b. The MTA pathway is intended to fill a gap in the DAS for those capabilities that have a level of maturity to allow them to be rapidly prototyped within an acquisition program or fielded, within 5 years of MTA program start. The MTA pathway may be used to accelerate capability maturation before transitioning to another acquisition pathway or may be used to minimally develop a capability before rapidly fielding.

c. The rapid prototyping path provides for the use of innovative technologies to rapidly develop fieldable prototypes to demonstrate new capabilities and meet emerging military needs. The objective of an acquisition program under this path will be to field a prototype meeting defined requirements that can be demonstrated in an operational environment and provide for a residual operational capability within 5 years of the MTA program start date. Virtual prototyping models are acceptable if they result in a fieldable residual operational capability. MTA programs may not be planned to exceed 5 years to completion and, in execution, will not exceed 5 years after MTA program start without Defense Acquisition Executive (DAE) waiver.

d. The rapid fielding path provides for the use of proven technologies to field production quantities of new or upgraded systems with minimal development required. The objective of an acquisition program under this path will be to begin production within 6 months and complete fielding within 5 years of the MTA program start date. MTA program production start date will not exceed 6 months after MTA program start date without DAE waiver. MTA programs may not be planned to exceed 5 years to completion and, in execution, will not exceed 5 years after MTA program start without DAE waiver.

Figure 1. Adaptive Framework

e. Not all programs are appropriate for the MTA pathway. Major systems intended to satisfy requirements that are critical to a major interagency requirement or are primarily focused on technology development, or have significant international partner involvement are discouraged from using the MTA pathway.

f. MTA programs will not be subject to the guidance in Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 5123.01H and DoD Directive 5000.01. Each DoD Component will develop a streamlined process that results in a succinct requirement document no later than 6 months from the time the operational needs process is initiated. Approval authorities for each capability requirement will be delegated to a level that promotes rapid action.

g. DoD Component-required procedures will be compliant with applicable statute and consistent with the requirements for acquisition programs stated in this issuance. When necessary, requests for waivers to the provisions of this issuance will be submitted to the DAE.