The Capabilities Based Assessment (CBA) is the analysis portion of the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) process. The CBA provides recommendations to pursue a materiel or non-materiel solution to an identified capability gap that meets an established capability need. The CBA analysis contains the Functional Area Analysis (FAA), Functional Needs Analysis (FNA) and Functional Solutions Analysis (FSA). This analysis is meant to:
- Define the mission;
- Identify capabilities required;
- Determine the attributes/standards of the capabilities;
- Identify gaps;
- Assess operational risk associated with the gaps;
- Prioritize the gaps;
- Identify and assess potential non-materiel solutions;
- Provide recommendations for addressing the gaps.
Figure: JCIDS Process within the Defense Acquisition System Phases/Milestones 
The JCIDS analysis process leads to an approved Initial Capabilities Document (ICD) which is built upon the CBA. The CBA does not provide specific recommendations as to a particular materiel solution, but rather provides a more general recommendation as to the type of materiel solution (such as Information Technology system, incremental improvement to an existing capability, or an entirely new “breakout” or other transformational capability). In this way, the ICD can be used to establish boundary conditions for the scope of alternatives to be considered in the subsequent Analysis of Alternatives (AoA).
The CBA should define the operational framework and the Combatant Commander’s priorities sufficiently to guide development of alternative materiel and sustainment solutions. It should also provide affordability advice to the Planning, Programing, Budget and Execution (PPBE) Process.
All CBAs are based on a framework of strategic guidance documents. The National Security Strategy (NSS), the National Strategy for Homeland Defense, the National Defense Strategy (NDS) and the National Military Strategy (NMS)provide the overarching description of the Nation’s defense interests, objectives, and priorities. In addition, the Guidance for the Development of the Force, the Guidance for the Employment of the Force, and the most recent Quadrennial Defense Review Report contain further refinement of objectives and priorities, and help provide a framework for a CBA. (JCIDS Manual Enclosure A)
AcqLinks and Resources:
-  CJCS Instruction 3170.01 “Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System”
- Guide: Capabilities Based Assessment (CBA) Users Guide, Version 2
- Manual for the Operations of the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS)
- Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG) – Chapter 3
- JCIDS Process Flow Chart
- Tutorial: JCIDS Process