The Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) program is to test items and technologies of our foreign allies that have a high Technology Readiness Level (TRL) in order to satisfy valid defense requirements quickly and economically. FCT continues to be a uniquely successful acquisition tool from a U.S. government-to-foreign industry standpoint. Since 1980, the FCT program has helped to foster the two-way street in defense spending between the U.S. and its allies through the procurement of more than $5 billion in foreign items. The program has reaped substantial savings by avoiding research and development costs, lowering procurement costs, reducing risk for major acquisition programs and accelerating the fielding of equipment critical to the readiness and safety of U.S. operating forces.
The FCT program has served as a catalyst for industry teaming arrangements, which have been productive for both U.S. and foreign industries in an increasingly competitive global market, helping to build a robust U.S. defense industrial base. Foreign items are nominated by a sponsoring organization within the Department of Defense for testing in order to determine whether the items satisfy U.S. military requirements or address mission area shortcomings. The OSD Comparative Testing Office funds testing and evaluation; the Services fund all procurements that result from a successful test. Additional information on the FCT program can be found at the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Comparative Testing Office (CTO) BIDS website: https://cto.acqcenter.com/osd/portal.nsf.
The FCT program's objectives are to improve the U.S. warfighter's capabilities and reduce expenditures through:
- Rapidly fielding quality military equipment
- Eliminating unnecessary duplication of research, development, test and evaluation
- Reducing life cycle or procurement costs
- Enhancing standardization and interoperability
- Promoting competition by qualifying alternative sources
- Improving the U.S. military industrial base
Authorized by Title 10, United States Code, Section 2359b and the 2003 Defense Authorization Act, DACP is administered by the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Advanced Systems and Concepts). The Office of Naval Research (ONR) manages the DON DACP for the Navy and the Marine Corps. The ONR Program Manager can be contacted via email at: DoN_FCT_Contact@onr.navy.mil.
- In November, ONR issues a call for proposal to each major Navy/Marine Corps Systems Command (SYSCOM), NAVSEA, NAVAIR, SPAWAR and MC.
- Throughout the spring, the SYSCOMS, work with the interested acquisition programs to develop a proposal and the required supporting documentation.
- By late spring, proposals are submitted by the SYSCOM leads to ONR who engages with USFFC and HQMC to develop a single consolidated priority list based upon the needs of the warfighter.
- In early June, this list is submitted to OSD for consideration for follow year funding.