The Initial Capabilities Document (ICD) documents the need for a materiel approach, or an approach that is a combination of materiel and non-materiel, to a specific capability gap.  A capability gap derived from an initial analysis of materiel approaches executed by the operational user and, as required, an independent analysis of materiel alternatives. It defines the capability gap in terms of the functional area, the relevant range of military operations, desired effects and time. The ICD summarizes the results of the Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and education, Personnel, and Facilities (DOTMLPF) analysis and describes why non-materiel changes alone have been judged inadequate in fully providing the capability.  See Requirements Development

JCIDS Process Picture

Figure: ICD in the Acquisition/JCIDS Process

The ICD guides the Concept Refinement and Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TD) Phase of the Defense Acquisition System and supports Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) and the Milestone A decision. Once approved, the ICD is not updated.
The ICD defines the gap in terms of the functional area; the relevant range of military operations; desired effects; time and DOTMLPF; and policy implications and constraints. The outcome of an ICD could be one or more DOTMLPF Change Recommendations (DCRs) or Capability Development Documents (CDD).

Guide: Initial Capabilities Document (ICD) Writers Guide

JCIDS Manual Required ICD Format:

The Capability Development Tracking and Management (CDTM) tool is provided as a means to generate and submit ICDs, Capabilities Development Documents (CDD), Capability Production Documents (CPD), and Joint DOTMLPF-P Change Recommendation to the Knowledge Management/Decision Support (KM/DS) system.

REGULATORY: The ICD is required for the Material Development Decision (MDD).[2]


AcqLinks and Resources:

Updated: 7/17/2017

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