Congress would hold off on spending some Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) funds on the Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) program until an in-depth report requested in the FY’14 National Defense Authorization Act legislation is in hand.

The legislative text would not allow spending any Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) funds for post-Milestone B on the vehicle program until 30 days after a report from the Secretary of the Army.

That report would provide congressional defense committees with “an independent assessment of the draft Milestone B documentation for the Ground Combat Vehicle that is performed by the Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, or other similar official,” bill language said.

The legislative language also wants an analysis of whether there is a “sufficient” business case to move ahead with EMD using only one contractor.

At the present time, the Army’s plan is to move to a single contractor from the competing teams led by General Dynamics and BAE Systems. Both teams successfully completed Preliminary Design Reviews this fall (Defense Daily, Nov. 12).

ArmyThe report also must include a certification from the Secretary that the GCV program has “feasible, fully defined, and stable requirements; been demonstrated in a relevant environment in accordance with…(federal law);…and achieved technology readiness or maturity;  independent and high-confidence cost estimates; sufficient funding available during fiscal year 2014 and sufficient funding planned for the period covered by the current future years defense plan; and a realistic and achievable schedule.”

The provision was part of the House bill, but not in the Senate’s committee passed bill, the FY ‘14 Joint Explanatory statement said.

Additionally, the Comptroller General of the United States must submit a report to the congressional defense committees with an assessment by the Comptroller General of the Army’s study on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle industrial base submitted to Congress pursuant to the Conference Report accompanying the FY ’13 NDAA.

The report shall include an assessment of the “reasonableness” of the study’s methods including, but not limited to “the sufficiency, validity, and reliability of the data used to conduct the study, and include findings and recommendations, if any, on the combat vehicle industrial base. In conducting this review the Comptroller General should not replicate the Army study.”

Considering the Army’s tactical vehicles more broadly, the NDAA calls for a study on multi-year, multi-vehicle procurement authority for tactical vehicles.

While the House bill would authorize the Defense Secretary to enter a five-year pilot program for multi-year multi-vehicle tactical vehicle procurement, the Senate had no similar provision, the explanatory statement accompanying the FY 14 NDAA said. The agreed bill includes the provision requiring a study and report on such procurement.

The bill language includes the “sense of Congress”–expressing a majority of members’ opinion without creating law–that budget uncertainty and reduced defense procurements have had negative impacts on the tactical vehicle industrial base, that the Army should consider innovative contracting and acquisition strategies to maximize cost savings, improve the sustainment of the tactical vehicle industrial base, and reduce risk.

Therefore, the NDAA requires the Army Secretary, with the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, to conduct a study of the “desirability and feasibility of requesting legislative authority…to enter into one or more multiyear, multivehicle contracts for the procurement of tactical vehicles beginning in fiscal year 2015 or thereafter.”

A report on such potential options is due back 90 days after the NDAA is enacted.

The report should include a business case analysis of a multiyear, multivehicle contract for tactical vehicles, “including any potential increases in cost, savings, or risk that may derive from such a contract in comparison to standard contracting methods. It should also include an evaluation of whether legislative action is needed to enter such a contract.”