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.

Definition: Milestone C is the point at which a program is reviewed for entrance into the Production and Deployment (PD) Phase. [2]

Acquisition System

Figure: Defense Acquisition Process

Milestone C Topics

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

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. Approval of Milestone C depends on specific criteria defined and included in the Milestone B Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM). 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]

Milestone C in the Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP)

Plan for Testing and Evaluating (TEMP) at Milestone C

The Milestone C Test & Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP) is an updated version of the Milestone B TEMP. It includes a framework for evaluating progress. The T&E plan for IOT&E has been updated and is in the Milestone C TEMP. The program shows that the production design is stable and meets both stated and inferred requirements based on how well it did in the preliminary test. At Milestone C, the updated reliability growth charts show test results up to that point and any changes to the reliability growth plan. In some cases, IOT&E operating test plans are needed for Incremental Software Capability programs and other acquisition models that don’t have a Milestone C.

Milestone C in the Life Cycle Sustainment Plan (LCSP)

At Milestone C, the Life Cycle Sustainment Plan (LCSP) should show how the metrics and standards for sustainment will be checked, how product support will be given to test and evaluation assets, and how support will be given for initial fielding.

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 in preparing for Milestone A, B, and C decision reviews.

Combined Milestone B and Milestone C

A few programs are allowed to combine Milestones B and C. Due to high costs, such as satellites and ships, these programs do not produce prototypes during Engineering Manufacturing & Development (EMD). 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.

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