The current capability development environment includes a host of challenges: the need for increasingly capable systems often with greater complexity; time pressure to deliver new capabilities more quickly, and increased cost pressures. As new capabilities are developed, the threat and operational environment continues to adapt, often necessitating midstream changes to requirements or other aspects of the capability. Additionally, mandatory requirements to satisfy larger DoD policy goals must also be addressed. The DoD’s new competitive prototyping paradigm in Technology Development (TD) phase offers combat developers a unique opportunity, but one that requires a comprehensive capability development technical approach. When the combat developers for a new ground vehicle capability enter a TD Phase where competitive prototyping will be used, it’s essential that a sound technical approach is established upfront, documented and implemented. Using the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) as a case study, this paper describes a technical approach and lessons learned for ground vehicle capability developers in this new competitive prototyping environment.
The approach is based on the structured use of Knowledge Points and the early use of Systems Engineering fundamentals during the combat development and requirements generation activities. The approach includes emphasis on how these Knowledge Points drive the injection of key information into the capability development process based on prototype performance during design and testing, trade-off studies, cost analyses, as well as other non-program related analyses. The approach also addresses enterprise-level use of software, leadership roles and decision authority, and the integration of technical expertise resident in government and industry into capability decisions. Finally, the approach addresses how to increase collaboration between capability developers, material developers, test and evaluation authorities, research organizations, and cost analysis organizations. Since its implementation on JLTV from 2008-present, this approach is now being replicated on multiple large-scale ground vehicle programs in the Marine Corps and Army.