This is just an Excerpt from a larger document, click here to view the entire document.Introduction
Historically, military procurements were characterized by requirements (in standards and specifications) that not only governed what was being procured, but also provided detailed instructions on how the procured item was to be designed and manufactured. For example, contracts routinely specified what parts could be used, how manufacturing processes were to be performed, what plans were required, and so forth. A key part of Defense Acquisition Reform has been a move from this "how-to" type of contracting to performance-based contracting. Inherent in this approach is the need for and reliance on performancebased requirements (PBRs).
The concept of performance-based service contracting has been a part of government-wide contracting for a long time. In fact, OFPP Policy Letter 91-2 (April 9, 1991) defined performance-based contracting as a means of "structuring all aspects of an acquisition around the purpose of the work to be performed as opposed to either the manner by which the work is to be performed or broad and imprecise statements of work." Yet, with occasional exception, it was common practice within the Department of Defense (DoD) and the military services to tell contractors what was needed, what to do, and how to do it. Under Defense Acquisition Reform, performance-based contracting and the use of PBRs have become realities within DoD. In large measure, the implementation of performance-based contracting has been supported by the Defense Standardization Program, under which the complete system of military specifications and standards has been changed.
Under the Defense Standardization Program, many specifications and standards have been rescinded, converted to performance-based documents, changed to guidance documents, and so forth. Greater reliance is being placed on the use of commercial standards and specifications. Finally, military procurement agencies cannot impose any military or commercial standards without a waiver. Compare this policy with its predecessor under which the decision not to use many military standards required a waiver.