"Welcome to today's hearing on the Department of Defense's Rapid Acquisition Process: Is it a Model for Improving Acquisition? This hearing continues our series of hearings looking at the ways that the Department of Defense can lose value in acquisition in which we are trying to identify the causes of those loses.
"The title for today's hearing is ambiguous, because there are indications both that rapid acquisition can occasionally cost taxpayers money, that haste can make waste, and also that rapid acquisition can lead to outcomes that look pretty good compared to the usual way of doing business in defense acquisition.
"We will examine one case study in particular, the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP). There have been a number of challenges in the MRAP program: we got off to a slow start in defining our requirement; the Marine Corps overpaid for some models; and we may find it extremely challenging to sustain them going forward.
"At the same time, it is almost unprecedented that DOD was able to go from an initial requirement to having fielded thousands of vehicles to combat in about three years. And these vehicles, while not perfect, have introduced a very capable and important new capability to the battlefield.
"So today we try to look at both sides of the coin. Can we protect taxpayers even as we rapidly accelerate the acquisition process, and what it the best way to do so while retaining the speed that is essential in meeting urgent operational needs? And can we learn lessons from the success of MRAP and other rapid acquisition programs that tell us something about how to improve the standard acquisition process.
"As we look at these questions, we'll also have to consider whether we should expect that a separate process for rapid acquisition will continue to be necessary going forward, and if so, how do design a structure to execute that process? Before I introduce today's excellent witnesses, let me turn to my colleague from Texas for his opening remarks."