Acquisition Process

Milestone C

Milestone C (MS C) is a Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) led review at the end of the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase of the Defense Acquisition Process. Its purpose is to make a recommendation or seek approval to enter the Production and Deployment (PD) Phase.  A milestone marks the start/or finish of a phase and has defined Entrance and Exit Criteria.

Acquisition System

Figure: Defense Acquisition Process

For a list of mandatory items due at Milestone C, see the Milestone Requirements Matrix

Milestone C Topics

There are a lot of topics that need to be addressed during a Milestone C Review. These topics should be relevant to the decision to enter into production. Topics that should be addressed during a Milestone C Review include: [1]

Milestone C in the Acquisition Strategy

A Milestone Decision Authority (MDA)-approved update to the Acquisition Strategy is required prior to Milestone C. The Acquisition Strategy should reflect planned efforts to result in the completion of manufacturing development in order to ensure adequate and efficient manufacturing capability and to produce the minimum quantity necessary to provide products or production-representative articles for Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (IOT&E), establish an initial production base for the system; and permit an orderly increase in the production rate for the system, sufficient to lead to Full-Rate Production (FRP) upon successful completion of operational (and live-fire, where applicable) testing.

Additionally, the MS C Acquisition Strategy should reflect plans for demonstrating control of the manufacturing process and acceptable reliability, the collection of statistical process control data, and the demonstrating control and capability of other critical processes such as successful IOT&E. [1]

Program Support Review

The Program Support Review (PSR) is conducted to provide insight into current and future program execution through detailed analysis using the Defense Acquisition Program Support (DAPS) Methodology. A PSR is designed to assist the Program Managers (PM) and systems engineers prepare for Milestone A, B, and C decision reviews.

Combined Milestone B and Milestone C

A few programs are allowed to have a combined Milestone B and Milestone C. These programs do not produce prototypes during Engineering Manufacturing & Development (EMD) due to high costs such as satellites and ships. In that case, the first article produced will be tested and evaluated, and then fielded as an operational asset.

The acquisition approach for these programs can be tailored by measures such as combining development and initial production investment commitments and a combined Milestone B and C. Additional decision points with appropriate criteria may be established for subsequent production commitments.

AcqLinks and References:

Update: 6/28/2021

Rank: G1

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