Acquisition Category (ACAT)
The acquisition process divides acquisition programs into four (4) Acquisition Categories (ACAT): ACAT I, ACAT II, ACAT III, or ACAT IA. The difference between each categories is dependent on the location of a program in the Acquisition Process, funding amount for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E), total procurement cost, Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) special interest and decision authority.
The categories are listed below:
|Reason for ACAT Designation||Decision Authority|
|ACAT I||ACAT I programs are defined as
Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAP).
Cost Estimate to Exceed:
- Total Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) >= $365 Million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2000 dollars
- Total Procurement >= $2.190 Billion in FY Year 2000 dollars
1. ACAT IC: For which the MDA is the DoD Component Head or, if delegated, the Component Acquisition Executive (CAE). The C refers to Component
2. ACAT ID: For which the MDA is USD (AT&L). The D refers to Defense Acquisition Board (DAB),which advises the USD (AT&L) at major decision points.
|USD (AT&L) or delegate for sub-categories|
ACAT IA are programs that are classified as
Automated Information System (MAIS)3
designated by the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) as:
|USD (AT&L) or designee|
|ACAT II||Does not meet the criteria for
Cost Estimated to Exceed:
- Total RDT&E >= $140 Million FY 2000 dollars
- Total Procurement cost >= $660 Million FY 2000 dollars
|CAE or the individual designated by the CAE4|
|ACAT III||ACAT III programs are defined as those acquisition programs that do not meet ACAT I or II criteria.||Designated by the CAE4|
|ACAT IV||(Navy and Marine Corps only) ACAT programs in the Navy and Marine Corps not otherwise designated as ACAT III are designated ACAT IV. There are two categories of ACAT IV programs: IVT (Test) and IVM (Monitor). ACAT IVT programs require Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) while ACAT IVM programs do not.|
|1. In some cases, an
ACAT IA program, as defined above, also meets the
definition of an MDAP. The USD(AT&L) shall
be the MDA for such programs unless delegated to a DoD Component. The statutory requirements that apply to MDAPs and
MAIS shall apply to such programs.
2. The MDA (either the USD(AT&L) or, if delegated, the ASD(NII)/DoD CIO or another designee) shall designate MAIS
programs as ACAT IAM or ACAT IAC. MAIS programs shall not be designated as ACAT II.
3. Automated Information System: A system of computer hardware, computer software, data or telecommunications that
performs functions such as collecting, processing, storing, transmitting, and displaying information. Excluded are computer
resources, both hardware and software, that are:
a. an integral part of a weapon or weapon system;
b. used for highly sensitive classified programs (as determined by the Secretary of Defense);
c. used for other highly sensitive information technology programs (as determined by the ASD(NII)/DoD CIO); or
d. determined by the USD(AT&L) or designee to be better overseen as a non-AIS program (e.g., a program with a low
ratio of RDT&E funding to total program acquisition costs or that requires significant hardware development).
4. As delegated by the Secretary of Defense or Secretary of the Military Department.
AcqLinks and References:
- DoD Instruction 5000.02 "Operation of the Defense Acquisition System" - Enclosure 1 - 26 Dec 2013
- DoD Directive 5000.01 "Defense Acquisition System" - 20 Nov 2007
- Website: DAU Gloassary - Acquisition Category
- Website: SECNAV Inst 5000.2E "Navy Acquisition Category"
- Tutorial: Acquisition Categories