DIIG Current Issues No. 20: Integrating COTS: Lessons from Recent Ground Vehicle Acquisitions
January 15, 2010
Defense systems are rarely acquired rapidly. Even programs addressing urgent warfighter needs, such as countering Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) with Armored Security Vehicles (ASVs), can take years to fulfill. Yet, some orders are being fulfilled remarkably quickly. Most notably, the acquisition of 20,000 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs) is being completed with a speed and scale unseen since WWII.The same phenomenon appears to be repeating itself in the MRAP-ATV (M-ATV) program. This paper examines the factors in the rapid acquisition of these systems, particularly their use of commercial- and government-off-the-shelf technologies (COTS/GOTS), and whether lessons can be identified for acquisition policy.