Acquisition Process

Middle Tier Acquisition (Section 804)

Middle Tier Acquisition (MTA) is a rapid acquisition interim approach that focuses on delivering capability in a period of 2-5 years. The interim approach was granted by Congress in the FY16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Section 804 and is not be subject to the Joint Capabilities Integration Development System (JCIDS) and DOD Directive 5000.01 “Defense Acquisition System”.   The approach consists of utilizing two (2) acquisition pathways: (1) Rapid Prototyping and (2) Rapid Fielding.  It does this by streamlining the testing and deployment of prototypes or upgrading existing systems with already proven technology.

Instruction: DoD Instruction 5000.80 “Operations of the MTA”

(1) Rapid Prototyping

Use innovative technology to rapidly develop fieldable prototypes to demonstrate new capabilities, meet emerging military needs. The objectives are:

  • Field a prototype that can be demonstrated in an operational environment
  • Provide for residual operational capability within 5 years of an approved requirement

(2) Rapid Fielding

Use proven technologies to field production quantities of new or upgraded systems with minimal development required. The objectives are:

  • Begin production within 6 months
  • Complete fielding within 5 years of an approved requirement

Table: Summary of NDAA 2016, Section 804 Statutory Language


  • Organizations must make use of their existing funding consistent with the purpose ofr which the funds were appropriated.
  • Interim authority does not cover the establishment of Rapid Prototyping Fund
  • Rapid Prototyping Fund will be authorized when approved by organizations responsible for those authorities.

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 9/18/2020

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