WARREN, Mich. (Feb. 22, 2016) -- Leaders from the Joint Project Office for Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JPO JLTV) celebrated receiving DOD's David Packard Award in Acquisition Excellence for 2015 during a Pentagon ceremony last week--the team's second such award in just three years.

The JLTV program is an Army-led effort partnered with the U.S. Marine Corps to replace a portion of each service's light tactical vehicle fleets. The new truck will close existing capability gaps caused by an imbalance of payload, performance and protection, while giving Soldiers and Marines enhanced protection and improved maneuverability, transportability, maintainability and connectivity to 21st-century battlefield networks.

"I am so proud of our acquisition workforce," said Lt. Gen. Michael E. Williamson, principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology. "Our men and women work diligently every day to address Soldiers' needs quickly, effectively and affordably. This program exemplifies the best of what our acquisition professionals can achieve."

This award specifically recognizes the team's efforts during the program's competitive engineering and manufacturing development phase, which concluded in early 2015. That effort involved an intense, 14-month test phase with more than 1,000 test events, 400,000 test miles driven over operationally realistic terrain, work at 17 test sites and significant Soldier and Marine feedback. Remarkably, the team made it through all of that--and the challenges of fiscal uncertainty--remaining on schedule and on budget with stable requirements.

"This team took the program from near-cancellation and in just a few years turned it into a model for acquisition excellence and innovation in so many respects," said Scott J. Davis, the Army's Program Executive Officer for Combat Support and Combat Service Support. "As a result, we will be able to give our troops the JLTVs they really need faster than we had planned, while returning billions of dollars in savings for the services to invest in other priorities. I cannot think of a better success story."

DOD first recognized acquisition teams with the Packard Award in 1997, created to honor the former deputy secretary of defense and champion of excellence in defense acquisition. The award is DOD's highest acquisition honor and recognizes DOD civilian and military organizations, groups or teams whose significant contributions demonstrate exemplary innovation and best acquisition practices.

Since the award's inception, DOD has recognized only 70 program teams with the honor, and winning the award twice is something only a small handful of teams has accomplished. The JLTV team also received the award in 2013.

"When you think about how many programs there are across the Department, winning the Packard award once is quite impressive. For a team to win twice makes a tremendous statement about their character and dedication to collaboration, innovation, hard work and a clear focus on our Marines, Soldiers and taxpayers," said William Taylor, the U.S. Marine Corps' Program Executive Officer for Land Systems.

The Army and Marine Corps successfully transitioned the JLTV program into production on Aug. 25, 2015 and awarded a low-rate initial production contract to Oshkosh Defense on the same day.

"Having served on this program in more than one capacity, I am so thankful for this incredible team," said Col. Shane N. Fullmer, JLTV joint project manager. "They never lost focus, energy or heart, and they are still charging ahead. Soldiers and Marines are counting on these trucks, and we have plenty of work ahead to make sure we get these trucks to the field on time."

So now it's back to work for the JLTV team, who are on schedule to receive the first production vehicles by the end of September 2016. As production ramps up, the team will lead additional testing and other activities, heading toward a full-rate production decision in early fiscal year 2019.

Soldiers and Marines should expect to start seeing JLTVs in operational formations in 2019. Production for the Army (49,099 vehicles) and Marine Corps (5,500 vehicles) is underway, and is scheduled to last into the mid 2030s.