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 is 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 regarding 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-material changes alone have been judged inadequate in fully providing the capability. A validated ICD is a required entry requirement for a Materiel Development Decision (MDD). See Requirements Development
Definition: Initial Capabilities Document (ICD) is a type of capability requirements document that outlines one or more capability requirements and related capability gaps that, if left uncontrolled, would pose an unacceptable operational risk. It suggests minimizing identified capability gaps in whole or in part using a materiel capability solution or a combination of materiel and non-material solutions.
Figure: ICD in the Acquisition/JCIDS Process
Purpose of the Initial Capabilities Document (ICD)
The ICD guides the Concept Refinement and Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TD) Phase of the Defense Acquisition System and supports the 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).
Initial Capabilities Document (ICD) Required Format:
- Concept of Operations (CONOPS) Summary
- Joint Capability Area
- Required Capability
- Capability Gaps and Overlaps or Redundancies
- Threat and Operational Environment
- Ideas for Non-Materiel Approaches (DOTMLPF Analysis)
- Final Recommendations
- Mandatory Appendices
- Appendix A: Integrated Architecture Products
- Appendix B: References
- Appendix C: Acronym List
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.
Initial Capabilities Document (ICD) Regulatory Requirements
REGULATORY: The ICD is required for the Material Development Decision (MDD). 
- Key Performance Parameters (KPP) are not included in the ICD.
- The ICD replaced the Mission Need Statement (MNS) that was used under the old Requirements Generation System
- The Knowledge Management/Decision Support (KM/DS) Tool is found on the SIPRNET privileges. It is not accessible from non-secure sites.
- See Requirements Development
- See Requirements Document Sequence
AcqLinks and Resources:
- CJCS Instruction 5123.01 “Charter Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) and Implementation of the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS)”
-  CJCS Instruction 3170.01 “Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System”
-  DoD Instruction 5000.02 “Operation of the Defense Acquisition System”
- JCIDS Operations Manual – 12 Feb 2015
- JCIDS Process Flow Chart
- Initial Capabilities Document (ICD) Writers Guide
- Example: ICD for Unmanned Systems
- Example: ICD for Operational Contract Support
- Example: ICD for Common Driver Trainer
- Tutorial: JCIDS Process