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OFF the SHELF. What does that mean in "Military Speak"?


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The Marines wanted an "off the shelf" product when they ordered the Eickhorn Bayonet 2000. Here's a quote from our friend Bill Porter:

"A contract was issued to Eickhorn on the premis [sIC] of them being a sole source provider, in other words they were the only company that could supply the item that the USMC was looking for. Some of the requirements were that the bayonet be an off the shelf item, marked with the USMC eagle, globe and anchor and could be supplied at the rate of so many per month (I don't remember the quantity requirement of the top of my head)."

In other quotes from other sources, I read that the OKC 3S (the current Marine bayonet) was an "off the shelf" contract order. In common speech, "off the shelf" means that the item is already in production and is now being procured as a military item. My question then is, did Eickhorn have a supply of Bayonet 2000s being sold to other countries or through commercial entities, and then provide them to the Marine Corps for trial, with the only modification being an EGA stencil? Based on reports of the progress of the Marine Corps selecting their bayonet, it seems that the bayonet 2000 as well as the OKC 3S bayonets were brand new designs and not "off the shelf" at all.

What does "off the shelf" mean in military procurement circles?

Marv

 

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It means that the item was not developed by or for the military but is a commercial product that is found to be useful for the military.

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Thanks for the responses. Now, the question I really want answered is this. Did Eickhorn make the bayonet we now call Bayonet 2000 before the Marines ever asked them for trial samples? Were the the bayonets already being produced?

Marv

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I agree.

 

AKA...Private purchase or unit purchase.Back during desert storm a few units here had no sunburn lotion or chapstick.They were given funds to purchase it at the area Walgreens "off the shelf".One of the local Air Giuard guys stated when he was at Offut AFB they went and bought stuff from a surplus store as they didnt have adequate amounts of certain items.

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If the Marine Corps ordered the KCB 77 bayonet to be the bayonet of the Marine Corps, then I would say that they had ordered an off the shelf bayonet. In spite of its similarities, the Bayonet 2000 is a different bayonet than was previously available. Am I wrong? Hence my question: was the Bayonet 2000 previously available before the Marines ordered it?

Marv

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Both of the above posters are basically correct. Also commonly seen as "Commercial Off the Shelf", or "COTS".

 

^ This.

Also, Government Off the Shelf or GOTS. Both COTS and GOTS can be found in the federal acquisitions manuals.

 

Commercial off the Shelf products are just as they sound. Anything you can walk into a store and purchase, unmodified for government purchase

 

Government Off the Shelf indicates a commercial type product that has been modified in some way that is exclusive to the government. An example might be a commercial-type radio that is modified for government use to operate in a different spectrum or mode than what would be available to civilians commercially.

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If I understand this correctly, when the Army ordered M7 bayonets from Milpar in 1964-65, it was a Government Off The Shelf purchase since Milpar was in the business of making bayonets. Even though they had not made any bayonets like the M7 before, they had blades from the M6 bayonets and added a new cross guard and a newly designed latch plate. In reality then, most, if not all the bayonets ordered from WWII to present, were GOTS contracts.

Marv

This is a new edit.

In the forgoing example, the Milpar M7 was not a commercial item that was modified, so maybe it does not fit the criteria. With that in mind, my question would be: what commercial knife or bayonet made by Eickhorn was modified to make the Bayonet 2000?

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Definitions extrapolated from the FAR and DFAR courtesy of the Defense Aquistion University.

 

Commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) item

 

(1) Means any item or supply (including construction material) that is—

 

(i) A commercial item (as defined in paragraph (1) of the definition in this section);

 

(ii) Sold in substantial quantities in the commercial marketplace; and

 

(iii) Offered to the Government, under a contract or subcontract at any tier, without modification, in the same form in which it is sold in the commercial marketplace; and

 

(2) Does not include bulk cargo, as defined in 46 U.S.C. 40102(4), such as agricultural products and petroleum products.

 

Government off-the-shelf (GOTS) item is a term for software and hardware Government products that are ready-to-use. They were created and are owned by the Government. Typically GOTS are developed by the technical staff of the government agency for which it is created. It is sometimes developed by an external entity, but with funding and specification from the agency. Because agencies can directly control all aspects of GOTS products, these are generally preferred for government purposes. GOTS software solutions can normally be shared among Federal agencies without additional cost. GOTS hardware solutions are typically provided at cost (i.e. R&D costs not recouped).

 

An example of COTS items is use of snap-on brand tools in the Marine Corps' General Mecanic's Tool Kit.

An example of a GOTS item is the purchace of the DoD developed M4 rifle by the FBI.

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Thanks for all the information. It would seem then that the Bayonet 2000 is a GOTS purchase since an outside entity (Eickhorn) made the bayonet to government specifications. The "off the shelf" term may be used because Eickhorn developed and manufactured the bayonet and sold it to the Marine Corps "off the shelf". So, bayonets by Milpar, Utica, Camillus, Union Fork and Hoe, American Fork and Hoe, et al, were GOTS purchases.

Is that it?

Marv

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As is usual with anything "government" related, there is no one simple answer.

 

IN GENERAL, as applied to bayonets, Off The Shelf can refer to who actually designed the bayonet and how it was contracted.

 

Older bayonets were contracted out to a manufacturer based on Ordnance Specifications and Drawings. When Camillus, AFH, Milpar, Utica etc. contracted to make a bayonet, they were given drawings and specifications by Ordnance and had to follow those specs.

 

Beginning basically with the M9 MPBS, Ordnance invited companies to submit bayonets for testing that met a general "wish list" of requirements. The companies were free to offer one or more designs that met those requirements, and could pass a long list of tests that were to be performed. After the testing, a design would be chosen to be purchased.

 

When the Marines wanted a bayonet different from the M9, they also opened the field to any company that wanted to submit a design. Eickhorn was the original winner of the competition, but due to politics lost the contract which was later given to Ontario who had submitted a somewhat different design.

 

Technically the contracts to LanCay and Ontario for the M9 are not Off The Shelf since they were required to meet the Ordnance standards that had been set in the original contract to Phrobis. They were however allowed to sell the same item commercially but it had to meet the government specs. By encouraging the company to continue to make the bayonet even when there was no contract, it was hoped that in the event of need that the supplier would be prepared to deliver with a minimum of delay - sort of Off The Shelf from inventory on hand.

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When the Marines wanted a bayonet different from the M9, they also opened the field to any company that wanted to submit a design. Eickhorn was the original winner of the competition, but due to politics lost the contract which was later given to Ontario who had submitted a somewhat different design.

 

 

 

I did not hear or read that multiple companies were invited to submit bayonet designs. I thought the Marines offered the contract ONLY to Eickhorn because they could provide 5000 bayonets per week or month depending on who is telling the story. Learning all the time.

Marv

 

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Quite possible Frank or Bill Porter can weigh in here, as I am not positive of the facts. It runs in my mind that the Marines put out a pre-order detailing what they were looking for in a bayonet and invited all interested parties to submit samples. I am fairly sure that Eickhorn did not just approach the USMC with an offer to produce a bayonet for them without some indication that the Marines were actively looking.

Gary Cunningham - Bayonetman

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Here is a short statement by Frank Trzaska concerning the Bayonet 2000. My memory was refreshed when I re-read it. He says the Marines did not want to spend the funds re-designing a bayonet and wanted a proven design, "off the shelf". If that is true, what proven design did Eickhorn use to satisfy the requirement. The bayonet 2000 WC (wire cutter) version is used by Canada. The US Marines were given the choice of the plain blade or the wire cutter blade. They chose the plain blade. Was the Bayonet 2000 a brand new design or one that was already is use by the Canadians? I don't know the time line. I thought that when the USMC contract was canceled, Eickhorn sold the design to the Canadians. Could it be the other way around? I wouldn't think so, but who knows? (I cut Franks comments short, but at the end, he thanks Gary Cunningham for pointing out the article to him) Thanks to all for the great information about how these things are supposed to work. Now I want to know how it actually worked in real life with this particular bayonet.

 

The New USMC Bayonet 7-8-01

Well you can read it here first. In a surprise announcement dated 28 Sept 2001 the Marine Corps stated their intention and adoption of a new bayonet. In a press release they stated "The Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) intends to negotiate and award on a sole source basis in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulations Part 6.302-1, (Only one Responsible Source and No Other Supplies or Services will Satisfy Agency Requirements), with Eickhorn * Solingen for Bayonets." So Eickhorn has finally won a bid after all those years of being in the testing. The contract will be of the firm fixed price (FFP), Indefinite Delivery / Indefinite Quantity (ID / IQ) type utilizing the Off the Shelf type purchase. The Marines did not want to use any more funds to develop a new bayonet they wanted a proven unit that had already been developed by a commercial entity. The Eickhorn * Solingen Bayonet 2000 will be issued primarily to the Marine Warfighter as a weapon to a-fix to their M16A2 or M4 rifle. Part of the reason for the award as stated by the USMC is the ability of Eickhorn to deliver the bayonet with the Eagle, Globe and Anchor imprinted on it at a rate of 5,000 per month on a 30 day notice.

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Here I am again, killing you all with this nonsense. But!, here is a pull quote from Frank's Knife Knotes 6 dated 12-04-01. (You may have noticed that on my last post, the date at the top doesn't make sense, but that was the date at the top of the knife knotes page.)

This information is from Eickhorn's website after the Bayonet 2000 was rejected by the USMC. They seem to be marketing the bayonet to others, but Eickhorn claims that the Bayonet 2000 is their design which means NEW design.

 

General Information: Eickhorn-Solingen has especially designed the multi-purpose bayonet model BAYONET 2000TM for the modern infantry soldier in the 21th century for multi terrain operations (urban, peacekeeping, etc.)

Characteristics : This new generation BAYONET2000TM combines several functions into one bayonet- knife-and-tool with a very flat, sturdy and compact design, good balance, light weight and ready for the toughest field-work. The BAYONET2000TM is compatible withe the U.S. Land Warrior system, fitting on the individual soldier and accessible and operable with one hand.

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