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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the current Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) program, focusing on: (1) whether the selection process includes criteria that are adequate to ensure that only mature technologies are selected for ACTD prototypes; (2) whether guidance on transitioning to the normal acquisition process ensures that a prototype appropriately completes product and concept development and testing before entering production; and (3) the Department of Defense's (DOD) current practice of procuring more ACTD prototypes than needed to assess the military utility of a mature technology.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense 1. The Secretary of Defense should clarify the ACTD program guidance to: (1) ensure the use of mature technology with few, if any, exceptions; and (2) describe when transition to the development phase of the acquisition cycle is necessary and the types of development activity that may be appropriate.
Closed - Implemented
DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. It stated that it had revised the guidance to improve clarity and comprehensiveness. It believes the definition of mature technology is appropriate and that the review process is robust. It also stated that selecting the appropriate acquisition entry point is important. To this end, it stated that the operational testing community participates in the ACTD assessment process.
Department of Defense 2. The Secretary of Defense should limit the number of prototypes to be procured to the quantities needed for early user demonstrations of mature technology until the item's product and concept development and testing have been completed.
Closed - Implemented
DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. It stated that it had restructured programs to ensure that all necessary information is available for the procurement decision.

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