Peer replies should be 160 words each, add value to the discussion and include a direct question.

STUDENT 1: Vicki

off the shelf (COTS) items or services are those that are available to the
general public by vendors who retain the intellectual property rights. Using
COTS gives the agency the ability to receive the benefits of technological
advances, quicker procurement timelines and cost savings. There can be a huge
cost and time savings by using modified COTS over research and development
programs. Market competition for COTS drives costs down, saves on procurement
times as well as implementation and fielding of systems.

One issue
to keep in mind when considering COTS as an option is the need for Test &
Evaluation (T&E) for the DOD environment. Feasibility testing, integration
and maintenance as well as testing of modifications. There is also the issue of
inclusion of testing and maintenance into the program at the earliest stages,
considering that T&E to a military specification was not likely to have
been completed on COTS.

Within my
agency we first look to utilize COTS, then we look to use modified COTS and
Research and Development (R&D) comes as a last resort. One area that COTS
should be used as much as possible is in information technology. Many COTS
software programs are easily modified to meet government specs if the original
configuration is not already up to par. Additionally, computer hardware is
another area where it is practical to use COTS. Minor modifications to a
commercially available item does not negate the commerciality. The
interoperability of COTS equipment and software also saves time and money in
the long run.…

2: Kevin

off the shelf (COTS) could be used within any DoD program as the commercial
market tends to develop a lot of the technologies that go into the modern
weapons systems. The government officials realized they could benefit off of
using commercially sold products rather then try and develop their own, as long
as they meet all the military requirements, just like a new 9mm round was
required to be made for the military to use in their new Sig P320 that the Army
was the first to sign a contract with moving away from the M9 Beretta. By
considering using off the shelf products, there is a lot of commercial
competition to be looked at, and depending on the quality of the product, could
be bought for much less. Regardless when considering a commercial off the shelf
product for a government acquisition program, there are many challenges that
will still need to be overcome. One of the biggest challenges I think that
would need to be considered is the difference in the culture of the DoD
acquisition programs compared to the commercial side of things, knowing that
the commercial sides development team would need to rethink the way they did
things if they planned on providing any government program with a product that
they produced. However, at the same time this would allow for new technology to
be implemented faster and be more reliable and have a greater availability. It
does ultimately fall on the DoD to make themselves more commercial friendly as
far as the budget and the products and solutions that the commercial market
comes up with.

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