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New DoD RDT&E Appropriation Budget Activity

New DoD RDT&E Appropriation Budget Activity

Defense Innovation Board's "Software Acquisition and Practices Report," March 2019

Debuting in the Presidential Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2021 (PB21) Department of Defense (DoD) Programs section is Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) Budget Activity (BA) 8 Software and Digital Technology Pilot Programs.  The addition is the result of recommendations made in the Software Acquisition and Practices (SWAP) Report published by the Defense Innovation Board in March 2019 on opportunities to improve software development, procurement, deployment, and maintenance. 

The definitions of the RDT&E BAs may be found in Volume 2B, Chapter 5, Section 050201 of the DoD's Financial Management Regulations.  They are available on SLAMR's RDT&E Budget Activities page, too.

Recommendation A2 of the SWAP Report was “Create a new appropriation category for software capability delivery that allows (relevant types of) software to be funded as a single budget item, with no separation between RDT&E, production, and sustainment.” (DIB 2020, p. 58).

Included in PB21 was $577 million for RDT&E BA 8, which is approximately $120 million less than the amount proposed by the the DoD in its RDT&E Programs (R-1) inputs to PB21.  Since programs proposed under RDT&E BA 8 are being re-aligned from other DoD areas, the difference may be some realignments suggested by the DoD were not incorporated in PB21.  Subsequent negotiations between the Executive and Legislative Branches may revise the amounts and programs appropriated, too.

For comparative purposes, the amounts requested in PB21 and the DoD’s RDT&E Programs (R-1) submissions are summarized below.

  • PB21. An estimated total of $577 million was requested with the anticipated allocations below.
    • Defense-wide: $398 million
    • Army: $31 million
    • Navy: $23 million
    • Space Force: $125 million
  • DoD RDT&E Programs (R-1) Submission. Approximately $697 million was requested for the programs below. Identified in parentheses is the Service Component.
    • National Background Investigation Services - Software Pilot Program - $121.676 million (Defense-wide)
    • Acquisition Visibility Pilot Program - Software - $16.848 million (Defense-wide)
    • Global Command and Control System (DARPA) - $86.750 million (Defense-wide)
    • Algorithmic Warfare Cross Functional Teams - Software Pilot Program - $250.107 million (Defense-wide)
    • Defensive CYBER – Software Prototype Development — $46.445 (Army)
    • Maritime Tactical Command and Control (MTC2) – Software Pilot Program — $10.868 million (Navy)
    • Risk Management Information Software Pilot Program — $14.300 million (Navy)
    • Joint Special Operations Center Mission System — $149.742 million (USAF)

From Section 8061 of PB21, 

(a) Amounts provided in appropriations for research, development, test and evaluation appropriations provided in titles IV and VI of this Act for designated Software and Digital Technology Pilot Programs may be used for expenses necessary for agile development, test and evaluation, procurement, production and modification, and the operation and maintenance of Software and Digital Technology Pilot Programs.

(b) In addition to use for research, development, test and evaluation activities, programs designated as Software and Digital Technology Pilot Programs by the Secretary of Defense or the explanatory statement accompanying this Act may use research, development, test and evaluation appropriations for expenses necessary for agile procurement, production and modification, and the operation and maintenance of Pilot Program requirements.

(c) Software and Digital Technology Pilot Program requirements eligible for funding under this provision include software, electronic tools, systems, applications, resources, acquisition of services, business process re-engineering activities, functional requirements development, technical evaluations, and other activities in direct support of acquiring, developing, deploying, sustaining, enhancing, and modernizing Software and Digital Technology Pilot Programs.

(d) Additional Software and Digital Technology Pilot Programs may be initiated with prior notification to the congressional defense committees.

(e) Removal of Pilot Programs.—A system project participating in the Pilot Program may be removed from the Program if the project has not been successful in meeting criteria established for the Pilot Program by the Secretary of Defense. (White House 2020, p. 97)
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