Acquisition Process

Challenge-Based Acquisition

Challenged-Based Acquisition (ChBA) is an approach that allows Government agencies to present challenges (Needs) through an incentivized competition to providers and let those providers present innovative solutions to those challenges. The Government then selects solutions based on demonstrated capability rather than on the basis of written proposals alone. The selected solution is often then procured by the government. Utilizing ChBA allows for a better transition to an official procurement.

Definition: Challenge-Based Acquisition (ChBA) invites vendors to propose inovative solutions to challenging scenarios by developing technical demonstrations or prototypes with the ability to be tested by the government so they can select/award a winning solution.

Guide: MITRE Challenge Based Acquisition – Version-5

Acquisition Strategies Available for Challenge-Based Acquisitions (ChBA)

There are a few acquisition strategies that are available for utilizing CBA.  The choice of strategy depends on circumstances—acquisition objectives, available time, complexity, technology ambiguity, challenger pool size, and acquisition scope. Some options include: [1]

  • Multiple Award Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts for evaluation and procurement,
  • Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs) for technology creation followed by competitive procurement,
  • BAAs exclusively for intellectual property creation,
  • Other Transaction Authority (OTA) for prototypes and demonstrations

When to use Challenge-Based Acquisitions (ChBA)

ChBA is most appropriate when the Government’s need is urgent and time-critical, where no traditional solution seems viable, or where emerging technologies have the potential to provide non-traditional solutions. ChBA is most effective in programs when: [1]

  • Have rapid schedule demands or respond to an urgent requirement
  • Respond to incremental capability needs
  • Be small from an Acquisition Category (ACAT) perspective
  • Seek to acquire a sub-system or component of a larger system or acquisition
  • Depend on emerging or uncertain technology
  • Expect proposed solutions to be of a mid-to-high Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
  • Be able to test proposed solution(s) in a simulated environment
  • Seek to attract the participation of non-traditional innovation sources
  • Expect a short product life cycle or rapid refresh rate
  • Have a clear acquisition quantity and price
  • Require simultaneous solution discovery by industry and Government
  • Wish to pay only for results.

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 3/19/2022

Rank G: 4