Middle Tier of Acquisition (MTA)
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Each page in this pathway presents a wealth of curated knowledge from acquisition policies, guides, templates, training, reports, websites, case studies, and other resources. It also provides a framework for functional experts and practitioners across DoD to contribute to the collective knowledge base. This site aggregates official DoD policies, guides, references, and more.
DoD and Service policy is indicated by a BLUE vertical line.
Directly quoted material is preceeded with a link to the Reference Source.
MTA program start date: The date an ADM is signed by the DA initiating the effort as an MTA rapid prototyping or MTA rapid fielding program, consistent with this issuance.
Summary of entrance documentation CAEs are required to complete and make available via Defense Acquisition Visibility Environment (DAVE) interfaces
|Major Systems2||Exceeds MDAP threshold3|
ADM signed by the DA
Written decision by USD(A&S)
Reference Source: DODI 5000.80, Paragraphs 4.1 a-f
The DA will approve MTA program documentation within their purview and will ensure that the entrance documentation [noted in the above summary table] is available via Defense Acquisition Visibility Environment (DAVE) interfaces.
CAEs will ensure the approved requirement document is available in the Knowledge Management and Decision Support system.
Rapid prototyping acquisition strategies will include security, schedule and technical risks; a test strategy or an assessment of test results; and a transition plan that includes a timeline for completion within 2 years of all necessary documentation required for transition, as determined by the DA, after MTA program start.
For any MTA program expected to require an eventual total expenditure that exceeds the threshold defined pursuant to Section 2302d of Title 10, U.S.C., CAEs will ensure documentation [noted in the above summary table] is available via DAVE at the time of the President’s budget submission. Full funding plans for the MTA program (to include year of execution), will be reflected in the documentation, consistent with the cost estimate.
Any MTA program expected to exceed the major defense acquisition program threshold defined pursuant to Section 2430 of Title 10, U.S.C., requires a written decision from the USD(A&S), after consultation with the advisory board defined in Paragraph 4.2., approving use of the MTA pathway, or direction to use an alternative strategy, before obligation of funds to a performing activity. Considerations will include the strategic risks involved, the scope and criticality of the desired capability, and whether programs are well positioned to meet statutory requirements based on review and input from relevant advisors.
Documentation shown [in the above summary table] for non-major systems will be made available via DAVE interfaces at least 10 workdays before the desired obligation of funds to a performing activity.
In addition to the documentation listed [in the above summary table], CAEs will ensure availability of the program identification data (PID) via DAVE interfaces. PID requirements are tiered between major and non-major systems. CAEs will submit updated PID via DAVE interfaces with the President’s Budget and Program Objective Memorandum submissions to OSD. CAEs must comply with the online PID requirements, consistent with the policy specified in this issuance. Substantive changes to online content not required by law must be formally coordinated following the guidelines in DoD Instruction 5025.01. Substantive changes include any additional requirements that add to the financial and personnel burden of any DoD Components.
CAEs will ensure that MTA program names and budget reporting clearly and discretely indicate the scope of the effort being conducted under the MTA pathway, especially when the MTA program is a subprogram of a larger program or is a program spiral, increment, or block upgrade. USD(A&S) will maintain the authoritative list of MTA programs for the Department.
Reference Source: DODI 5000.80, Paragraph 4.4
Pre-Existing MTA Programs. MTA programs designated prior to the effective date of this issuance will maintain their MTA program start date of funds first obligated. No later than 60 calendar days after the effective date of this issuance, pre-existing MTA programs will comply with this issuance, to include Table 1 deliverables.
DoD Component Guidance
Note that DoD Component MTA Implementation policies and guidance are currently being updated to be consistent with the newly published DODI 5000.80 (effective 30 Dec 2019).
MTA Program Initiation
Reference Source: ASA(ALT) Middle Tier of Acquisition Policy, 20 March 2020, Enclosure 1
[Note: CAC required for access]
- Operational Needs. The MTA program initiation process will result in an approved requirement and an Army Acquisition Executive (AAE)-signed Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM) that validates the rationale for using the MTA pathway and identifies the full funding required.
- The responsible Program Executive Officer (PEO)/ Program Manager (PM) will submit for approval requests to use MTA authority through the Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management (DASM) to the AAE. When appropriate, PEOs/PMs should also request that they be designated the Decision Authority (DA). Requests to use MTA authority will reflect coordination with appropriate requirements, test, and budget officials and, where applicable, the responsible cross-functional team lead.
a. The responsible PEO/PM will prepare a proposed MTA documentation package. The package will include:
1. A proposed ADM (TAB A, Enclosure 1 [Note: CAC required for access]) that will provide authority to proceed with the program and designate the DA.
2. An approved requirements document such as Abbreviated Capability Development Document or Initial Capability Refinement Document is required.
3. A program acquisition strategy (TAB B, Enclosure 2 [Note: CAC required for access]). The PM will develop an acquisition strategy for the program. The PM will “tailor-in” reviews, assessments and relevant documentation that results in an acquisition strategy customized to the unique characteristics and risks of their program for presentation to the DA for approval.
(a) Security, schedule and technical/ production risks and risk mitigation approaches.
(b) A cost estimate identifying the full funding required. Program cost and funding plan, including cost, schedule and performance metrics.
(c) The PM will develop a process for demonstrating performance and evaluating for current operational purposes of the proposed products and technologies. This process will result in a test strategy or an assessment of test results, included in the acquisition strategy, documenting the evaluation of the demonstrated operational performance, to include validation of required cybersecurity and interoperability as applicable. An independent assessment from the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command is recommended. Programs on the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation oversight list will follow applicable procedures.
(d) Rights in Technical Data and Software. PMs must address Intellectual Property (IP) in their acquisition strategy, consistent with ASA(ALT) policy on IP, including: any IP developed by the contractor independent of the MTA program; the cost to purchase or license the IP; the IP that will be developed during the MTA; and what rights to the data the government will have and need.
(f) The PM will develop a transition plan included in the acquisition strategy, which provides a timeline for completion of all necessary documentation required for transition, as determined by the DA. Estimated dates for completion of transition documentation should be within two years of MTA program start.
(g) Rapid Prototyping Programs will develop a process for transitioning successful prototypes to new or existing acquisition programs for production, fielding, and operations and sustainment under the rapid fielding pathway or other acquisition pathway.
b. No later than 30 days prior to the desired AAE approval date, the PEO/PM will provide the proposed MTA program documentation package through the supporting Department of the Army Systems Coordinator (DASC) to the DASM for review and concurrence, prior to submittal to the AAE.
1. Upon receipt, the DASC will provide the Director, Acquisition Reporting and Assessments, OASA(ALT) a copy of these documents to determine whether the DASM wishes to schedule a shaping briefing. The intent of the shaping briefing is to obtain DASM guidance and concurrence and ensure the MTA program plan will achieve the AAE’s approval.
2. Upon concurrence by the DASM, the PEO/PM will submit the proposed ADM and all other required documents to the AAE for decision to proceed.
3. The AAE will approve use of the MTA pathway, or direction to use an alternative strategy.
- Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (USD(A&S)) MTA Entrance Criteria Documentation Deliverables.
a. Table 1 describes the documentation required in Defense Acquisition Visibility Environment (DAVE).
1. Non-major systems are any MTA program expected to require an eventual total expenditure equal to or below threshold as defined pursuant to Title 10, United States Code (U.S.C.), Section 2302d documentation shown in Table 1 for non-major systems will be available via DAVE interfaces at least 10 workdays before the desired obligation of funds to a performing activity.
Table 1. USD(A&S) MTA Entrance Documentation Deliverables
Major System1 Non-Major System2 Rapid Prototyping
• ADM signed by the DA
• Approved Requirement3
• Acquisition Strategy4
• Cost Estimate
• ADM signed by the DA
• ADM signed by the DA
• Approved Requirement3
• Acquisition Strategy5
• Cost Estimate
• Lifecycle sustainment plan
• ADM signed by the DA
- Above threshold as defined pursuant to Title 10, U.S.C., Section 2302d.
- Equal to or below threshold as defined pursuant to Title 10, U.S.C., Section 2302d.
- The approved requirement document is available in the Knowledge Management and Decision Support (KMDS) system.
- Rapid prototyping acquisition strategies will include security, schedule and technical risks; a test strategy or an assessment of test results; and a transition plan that includes a timeline for completion within 2 years of all necessary documentation required for transition, as determined by the DA, after MTA program start.
- Rapid fielding acquisition strategies will include security, schedule, and production risks; either a test strategy or an assessment of test results; and a transition plan that includes a timeline for completion within 2 years of all necessary documentation required for transition, as determined by the DA, after MTA program start.
b. In addition to the documentation listed in Table 1, the Program Identification Data (PID) is required in DAVE.
1. For a description of PID requirements and connection to the submission portal, see the MTA pathway at the Adaptive Acquisition Framework page on the Defense Acquisition University Website at: https://www.dau.edu/aaf/.
2. PID requirements are tiered between major and non-major systems.
3. PID update frequency via DAVE interfaces are twice annually with the PB and Program Objective Memorandum submissions to the OSD and must comply with the online PID requirements, consistent with the policy specified in this issuance.
- The PM will upload all USD(A&S) MTA entrance criteria documentation in Table 1. For each major system the DA will coordinate with the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8 to load the requirements document to KMDS.
- Any MTA program expected to require an eventual total expenditures that exceeds the MDAP threshold defined pursuant to Title 10, U.S.C., Section 2430 will obtain a written decision from USD(A&S) approving use of the MTA pathway.
- MTA program start date is the date an ADM is signed by the AAE initiating the effort as an MTA rapid prototyping or MTA rapid fielding program. MTA programs designated prior to 30 December 2019 will maintain their MTA program start date of funds first obligated.
- The AAE will ensure that MTA program names and budget reporting clearly and discretely indicate the scope of the effort being conducted under the MTA pathway, especially when the MTA program is a subprogram of a larger program or is a program spiral, increment, or block upgrade. USD(A&S) will maintain the authoritative list of MTA programs for the Department.
Reference Source: ASA(ALT) Middle Tier of Acquisition Policy, 20 March 2020, Enclosure 1, TAB A
[Note: CAC required for access]
MEMORANDUM FOR PROGRAM EXECUTIVE OFFICER, (PEO Name)
SUBJECT: (MTA Name) Middle Tier Acquisition Decision Memorandum
a. Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 5000.02, “Operation of the Adaptive Acquisition Framework,” January 23, 2020.
b. DoDI 5000.80, “Operation of the Middle Tier of Acquisition (MTA),” December 30, 2019.
c. Memorandum, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) (OASA(ALT)), [Date], subject: OASA(ALT) MTA Policy.
d. [Other references, as desired].
2. Purpose: To approve request from Program Executive Officer (PEO name) to designate (MTA name) (rapid prototype or rapid fielding) effort as an MTA activity under Section 804, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, as amended, and delegate the (MTA name) (rapid prototype or rapid fielding) Decision Authority (DA) to PEO (PEO name).
a. I approve use of MTA authorities to execute the (MTA name) (rapid prototyping or rapid fielding) effort and designate (PEO name) as the DA.
b. I direct PEO (name) to ensure no funds are obligated under this effort until after the Army Acquisition Executive (AAE) formally identifies (MTA name) as an MTA program by providing both the required MTA program documentation Defense Acquisition Visibility Environment interfaces; and, a written decision from Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment approving the use of the MTA pathway for any program expected to require an eventual total expenditure that exceeds the Major Defense Acquisition Program threshold defined pursuant to Title 10, United States Code, Section 2430.
a. The (MTA name) (requirements document) was approved by (organization) on (date).
b. Program start date is the date this ADM is signed by the AAE.
c. The DA will establish knowledge points to evaluate efforts and report the status of these efforts through the Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management to the AAE. (** Governance).
d. (address the contract vehicle that will likely be used in this effort).
e. I direct PEO (PEO name) to provide an annual MTA executive summary documenting the status of this effort annually and submit updated Program Identification Data via DAVE interfaces twice annually with the President’s Budget and Program Objective Memorandum submissions.
5. The point of contact is _____________________.
Bruce D. Jette
Army Acquisition Executive
MTA Program Initiation
Reference Source: ASN(RDA) Middle Tier Acquisition Interim Guidance, 24 April 2018
Section 3.1.a. In order to initiate Rapid Prototyping projects under the Middle Tier Acquisition, each project shall be selected under a Merit Based Selection framework. Each pathway requires a distinct merit based assessment to ensure the transparency, accountability, and alignment within the Navy and Marine Corps acquisition, requirements, and resourcing communities. The DON will initiate Rapid Prototyping projects when the prototyping effort has:
(1) Alignment with a high priority military capability need;
(2) A defined and manageable capability, cost, schedule, feasibility of success, and technical risk;
(3) Available and stable funding through the normal Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution (PPBE) process, Above and Below Threshold Reprogramming, and/or through the use of the Rapid Acquisition Special Transfer Authorities;
(4) Opportunity to reduce total ownership costs to include reduction in development, production, and sustainment costs as compared to development through the Defense Acquisition System (DAS);
Section 3.1.b. The rapid prototyping pathway can be initiated in support of one or more of the following categories:
- Emergent Strategic Needs. Those needs that are emergent strategical Fleet/Forces needs not documented by a capability requirement through the normal Capability Based Assessment Process, nor sufficient funds programmed through the normal DoD PPBE process to execute in the year the need was identified. Emergent Strategic Needs initiation is consistent with the Secretary of the Navy Instruction (SECNAVINST) 5000.42, Department of the Navy Accelerated Acquisition for the Rapid Development, Demonstration and Fielding of Capability for initiating accelerated acquisition programs.
- Emergent Technologies. New warfighting capabilities that have been identified as an offsetting or disruptive warfighting needs through Future Naval Capability (NVC), Innovative Naval Prototype (INPs), Joint Capability Technology Demonstrations (JCTDs), Advance Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX), Warfighter Experiments, or similar information technology development advancements.
- Documented Needs. Projects that currently have a validated requirement documented via the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC), Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell (JRAC), the Chief of Naval Operations or Commandant of the Marine Corps Operational Needs process requiring acceleration to meet a warfighting need.
Table 3.1. Initiation Decision.
|Category||Initiation Decision||Merit Based Assessment Elements|
|Emergent Strategic Needs||
Navy AA BoD
USMC AA BoD
(See SECNAVINST 5000.42)
N9 -or- CD&I
& DASN (RDT&E)
|Accelerating capabilities from CDD/CPD||
N9, N8, N4, N2/N6, -or CD&I
Reference Source: USSOCOM Middle Tier Acquisition Authorities and Guidance, 1 Aug 2018
Program Management: The PM will recommend a tailored management strategy by considering what products, reviews and decision events are required to effectively manage an MTA. At a minimum the MDA will require the following documentation:
- Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM): Signed by the AE, designating the effort as a mid-tier acquisition.
- Simplified Acquisition Management Plan (SAMP): Following a successful Acquisition Strategy Brief, the Acquisition Team will complete a SAMP.
- Fielding and Deployment Release (F&DR): Before fielding a mid-tier acquisition capability, the Acquisition Team will achieve a successful F&OR or Conditional F&DR.
Reference Source: USSOCOM Procedure for Validation of Directed Requirements in Support of Middle Tier Acq, 9 Aug 2018
Section 4. MTA Nominations. Nominations shall include the following minimum information:
- Name of Program
- Capability Gap or Program
- Definitive Source for Capability Gap or Problem (Concept of Operations (CONOPS)/ Lessons Learned / existing requirement documents)
- Capability Characteristic or Solution
- Key Attributes include: Interoperability, Security, Cyber Security, Resiliency, and User-Equipment Integration
- Projected Fiscal Year Initiation
- Planned Required Lifecycle Budget and Funding Source