The following first appeared as a case study in the Department of Defense Other Transaction Guide. It is approved for unlimited distribution.
The Air Operations Center (AOC) Pathfinder Program purposefully structured its acquisition strategy to leverage flexible and innovative processes and procedures. The initial project executed a proof of concept designed to implement a modern, dynamic web-based application to schedule air refueling operations, which replaced an antiquated handwritten-whiteboard-on-the-wall system. This application resulted in fuel savings of approximately $200,000 per day based on more efficient use of available assets. Using the Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) process, the Defense Innovative Unit (DIU) through Army Contracting Command-New Jersey (ACC-NJ) awarded a Prototype OT on behalf of the Air Force AOC program office, to build software applications which allowed faster integration of user feedback into future iterations.
Implementation and Execution:
The DoD leveraged the Prototype OT to solve a capability gap through “…a scalable software development and production platform to enable continuous integration, delivery and operation of new applications…” DIU and the AOC Program Office collaborated to tailor a problem statement that provided an opportunity for companies to leverage commercial best practices to deploy software originally conceived under a traditional waterfall approach. ACC-NJ awarded the prototype OT from proposal receipt to award in only 129 days. The Air Force declared success after executing this methodology while developing and deploying four unique applications. In May 2018, the Air Force awarded a sole-source, follow-on Production OT for the scaling and employment of the initial prototype methodology and platform licenses across additional USAF software development teams and throughout the geographically dispersed AOC.
Outcomes and Lessons Learned: