Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

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Commercial Sourcing of the Distributed Common Ground System

The Army needs new data management software to provide Soldiers and Commanders with seamless access to vast amounts of data. Since the 1990’s, the Department of Defense has recognized the need for a software system that can access, manage, and analyze the wealth of data contained in the military’s various databases. In an attempt to meet this need, the military developed the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS), which has been a costly failure. American taxpayers have paid approximately $6 billion for DCGS-A, yet it continues to be burdened by numerous critical failures in testing, training, and combat—nearly two decades after the Army and a cadre of defense contractors began developing it.

The Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (“FASA”) requires federal agencies to acquire commercial products from the private sector “to the maximum extent practicable,” rather than paying contractors to develop those products from scratch. However, the Army issued a final RFI for DCGS-A2 confirming that the Army intended to develop new software rather than acquire existing commercial software. and is considering contract terms and vehicles that would perpetuate risky long-term, services-based contracts that focus on large software development activities” instead of inquiring into the availability of commercial items.

Additionally, the Court of Federal Claims expressed concern about “the unfortunate conduct of some of the Army personnel reflected in the Administrative Record.”

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