Critical Program Information (CPI) is defined as elements or components of an Research, Development and Acquisition program that, if compromised, could cause: [2]

  • Significant degradation in mission effectiveness,
  • Shorten the expected combat-effective life of the system,
  • Reduce technological advantage,
  • Significantly alter program direction or,
  • Enable an adversary to defeat, counter, copy, or reverse engineer the technology or capability

DoD Instruction 5200.39: CPI Identification and Protection Within RDT&E – 15 Oct 2018

CPI Includes information about applications, capabilities, processes, and end-items; Includes elements or components critical to a military system or network mission effectiveness; Includes technology that would reduce the US technological advantage if it came under foreign control. [2]

CPI on a Research, Development and Acquisition program may include:

  • Components,
  • Engineering design,
  • Manufacturing processes,
  • Critical technologies,
  • System capabilities and vulnerabilities and,
  • Other information that give the system its distinctive operational capability

DoDI 5200.39 Critical Program Information
Establishes policy to provide comprehensive protection of CPI through the integrated and synchronized application of CI, Intelligence, Security, systems engineering, and other defensive countermeasures to mitigate risk. Failure to apply consistent protection of CPI may result in the loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability of CPI, resulting in the impairment of the warfighters capability and DoDs technological superiority.


  • When CPI are inherited from a technology project and incorporated into an acquisition program, the Program Manager should incorporate the countermeasures prescribed in the Program Protection Plan (PPP) of origin until such time the CPI can be assed to determine whether it still requires protection during acquisition, or if new or related CPI exists. [1]

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 3/24/2020

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