Acquisition Process

DoD Space Acquisition Systems


DoD Space Acquisition Systems follow DoD Instruction 5000.02 “Operation of the Defense Acquisition System” in its phased approach.  Prior to 23 March 2009, Space Acquisitions was directed by National Security Space (NSS) 03-01. Now the directive authority comes from DoD Instruction 5000.02 “Operation of the Defense Acquisition System” and Directive-Type Memorandum (DTM) 09-025 Space Systems Acquisitions Policy (SSAP).


Space acquisitions have historically been different from standard military acquisitions.  Space systems take much more time to develop in the beginning phases, harder to define requirements, higher interoperability, multiple users, high cost, low number of produced systems, and zero margins for failure. That means more emphasis is placed on the beginning acquisition phases to include the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase to ensure a successful space system design.  Also, with the high reliance on technology, it takes more oversight to insure technology risk is reduced to an acceptable level before proceeding into development.  All these reasons lead to a different acquisition approach than the standard DoD system.


A few differences from DoD Instruction 5000.02 requirements for Space System Acquisition are called out in the DTM 09-25.  These differences are listed below.

  1. Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TD) Phase
    • Technology Development Strategy (TDS) – Additional Considerations
      • The TDS for space systems shall detail the acquisition strategy and contracting approach to be employed for the development of pertinent technologies for each phase of the program lifecycle.
    • Systems Engineering Plan (SEP) – Additional Considerations
      • Emphasize the space system’s integration with other existing and approved future architectures and capabilities.
      • Include mission assurance (MA) planning. MA is a description of those activities undertaken to ensure that space systems operate properly once launched into orbit, since retrieval for repair is impractical.
    • System Design Review (SDR) or called Preliminary Design Review (SDR) for non space program
    • Post-System Design Review Assessment (P-SDRA)
      • Space system program managers shall provide a post-SDR report to the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) reflecting an overall assessment of design maturity and a summary of the system level SDR results. The post-SDR report shall include an independent vulnerability assessment and an orbital debris mitigation risk report. The orbital debris mitigation risk report will include an assessment of debris generation risk during launch, on-orbit operations, and end-of-life disposal, and shall assess compliance with the U.S. Government Orbital Debris Mitigation Standard Practices
      • The Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) shall review the post-SDR report and the program manager’s resolution and/or mitigation plans, and determine whether additional action is necessary to achieve technology development phase objectives and satisfy the capability need specified in the ICD. The results of the MDA’s post-SDR assessment shall be documented in an Acquisition Decision Memorandum and include the MDA’s determination to proceed with technology development.
  2. Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development (EMD) Phase
    • The EMD phase for space programs, Milestone B shall normally include authorization for procurement of the long-lead items necessary for the authorized number of initial production articles.
  3. Production and Deployment PD) Phase
    • Follow-on Production Decision for Space Systems
      • The Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) shall conduct a follow-on production decision review in lieu of a full-rate production and deployment decision to authorize procurement of additional space system articles beyond those authorized at Milestone C. Statutory and regulatory information requirements outlined in Reference (c) for full-rate production and deployment reviews shall also apply to the follow-on decision review for space systems. An OSD independent cost estimate is required for a follow-on production decision.
  4. Operations and Support Phase
    • Space systems shall be required to have acceptable performance in integrated test and evaluation, to include both developmental and operational test and evaluation and user acceptance of the system.
  5. Incremental Evolving Existing Space Systems
    • All follow-on increments for space systems shall be preceded by a Materiel Development Decision (MDD). The MDD for space systems shall assess the prior increment’s progress, consider additional requirements to that increment, and determine the proper phase of entry into the acquisition model.


AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 8/01/2017

Leave a Reply