Adaptive Acquisition Framework

The Adaptive Acquisition Framework (AAF) supports the Defense Acquisition System with the objective of delivering effective, suitable, survivable, sustainable, and affordable solutions to the end-user in a timely manner. To achieve those objectives, Milestone Decision Authorities (MDAs), other Decision Authorities (DAs), and Program Managers (PMs) have broad authority to plan and manage their programs consistent with sound business practice.

Definition: The AAF supports the Defense Acquisition System with the objective of delivering effective, suitable, survivable, sustainable, and affordable solutions to the end-user in a timely manner.

The Goal of Adaptive Acquisition Framework (AAF)

“The goal of the Adaptive Acquisition Framework is to empower innovation and common-sense decision making through the decision-making process, while also maintaining discipline in our practices and procedures.” Mr. Kevin Fahey, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition

Adaptive Acquisition Framework (AAF) Pathways

AAF acquisition pathways provide opportunities for MDAs/DAs and PMs to develop acquisition strategies and employ acquisition processes that match the characteristics of the capability being acquired. The framework has six (6) distinct acquisition pathways.

  1. Urgent Capability Acquisition
  2. Middle Tier of Acquisition
  3. Major Capability Acquisition
  4. Software Acquisition
  5. Defense Business System
  6. Acquisition of Services

DoD Instruction: 5000.85 “Major Capability Acquisition” – 6 Aug 2020

DAU Website: Adaptive Acquisition Framework

Figure: 6 Adaptive Acquisition Pathways

Utilizing a Combination of Adaptive Acquisition Pathways [1]

Program Managers may leverage a combination of acquisition pathways to provide value not otherwise available through use of a single pathway.  The use of multiple pathways does not affect the application of statutory thresholds otherwise applicable to the program as a whole, such as the MDAP or major system (ACAT II) thresholds unless a statute permits.  PMs employing multiple pathways will:

  • Define the transition points from one pathway to another pathway.
  • Anticipate, develop, and coordinate the information requirements required at the new pathway entry point.  Links provided in [MDID]. identify regulatory and statutory information requirements for major capability acquisition, and the statutory requirements for other pathways.
  • Ensure a smooth transition.

Prototyping & Experiments

Adaptive Acquisition Pathways Test & Evaluation (T&E)

The purpose of Test & Evaluation (T&E) is to provide knowledge to assist in Risk Management that’s involved in developing, producing, operating, and sustaining systems and capabilities. The T&E process has been adapted to be part of the Adaptive Acquisition Framework by providing different T&E methods for each of the six pathways. Below is the main instruction for conducting T&E with regard to each pathway.

Rapid Acquisition Contract Methods

Below is a list of contact methods that can be used to perform Rapid Acquisitions:

Acquisition Authorities

Method Acquisition Authority Decision Authority
Procure Defense Services DODI 5000.74 SAE or Designee
Weapons System Procurement DODI 5000.02 MDA
Section 803 MDA equivalent to ACAT Level
Section 805 MDA equivalent to ACAT Level
Rapid Middle Tier Prototyping Section 804 – Rapid Prototyping MDA equivalent to ACAT Level
Section 804 – Rapid Fielding MDA equivalent to ACAT Level
Section 806 – Weapon Component Prototyping or Technology Selected by SAE after oversight Board Reviews
Early Prototyping DODI 3201.01
Rapid Experiments 10 USC 2373
MDA: Milestone Decision Authority; ACAT: Acquisition Category; SAE: Service Acquisition Executive

Rapid Organizations

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 8/17/2021

Rank: G3.8