Back to Top

Educating the Aerospace Industry

Blog Archives

Acquisition Process

Acquisition Program Baseline (APB)


The Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) is developed by the Program Manager (PM) before the initiation of a program for all Acquisition Category (ACAT) programs and depicts the current condition of a program. The plan states the threshold and objective values for the cost, schedule, and performance requirements for a program. The performance requirements are listed as Key Performance Parameters (KPP) and Key System Attributes (KSA) and are linked to the program goals. These KPP’s and KSA’s are developed by the program sponsors (user) and are located in the Capabilities Design Document (CDD) or Capabilities Production Document (CPD) and also documented in the Technical Baseline. The Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) is the approval authority for the APB.


Template: Acquisition Program Baseline


The APB allows the Program Manager (PM) to track program goals against a formal baseline. This tracking will alert the PM to any potential problems that might arise and to perform corrective actions to keep a program within its goals. An APB is required for each Increment and Block for a Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP) or Major Acquisition Information System (MAIS) program. Any deviations from an approved APB have to be documented in a Program Deviation Report (PDR).

The content of an APB include:

A separate APB is required for each increment of an MDAP or MAIS program, and each sub-program of an MDAP. Increments can be used to plan concurrent or sequential efforts to deliver capability more quickly and in line with the technological maturity of each increment. (When an MDAP requires the delivery of two or more categories of end items that differ significantly in form and function, subprograms may be established.


The Program Sponsor and PM shall ensure content includes Sustainment KPP/KSAs parameters, measurement metrics, and all programmatic direction affecting life-cycle support strategic planning and execution.


APBs for Acquisition Category (ACAT) I and IA programs are created in the Defense Acquisition Management Information Retrieval (DAMIR) system.



  • The Program Manager is responsible for managing the trade space between program goals within the bounds of cost, schedule, and performance.
  • The APB is inputted into the Defense Acquisition Management Information Retrieval (DAMIR) System which is a DoD initiative that provides enterprise visibility to Acquisition program information.


AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 8/14/2019

Acquisition Process

Acquisition Plan


An Acquisition Plan is a plan that documents all cost, schedule, technical, business, management, and other considerations that will govern an acquisition program and is derived from the Acquisition Strategy. It summarizes the acquisition planning discussions and identifies milestones in the acquisition process. An acquisition plan is no longer required by DoD Instruction 5000.02 “Operation of Defense Acquisition System” prior to Milestone B and any Request For Proposal (RFP) release for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase. The plan is governed by Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 7.105 and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) 207.1.


The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requires agencies to perform acquisition planning and conduct market research for all acquisitions in order to promote:


  • The acquisition of commercial items or, to the extent that commercial items suitable to meet the agency’s needs are not available, non-developmental items
  • Full and open competition per FAR Part 6 or, when the full and open competition is not required in accordance with Part 6, to obtain competition to the maximum extent practicable.


According to FAR Part 7.105 “Contents of Written Acquisition Plans”, the content of an Acquisition Plan should include:

  • Statement of Need
    • Cost
    • Capability or Performance
    • Delivery or Period of Performance
    • Tradeoff, Risks, Acquisition Streamlining
  • Sources
  • Competition
  • Contract Type Selection
  • Source Selection Procedures
  • Acquisition Considerations
  • Management Information Requirements
  • Cost
  • Capability or Performance
  • Risks
  • Source Selection Procedures
  • Budget and Funding
  • Product or Service Description
  • Priorities, Allocations, and Allotments
  • Contractor vs. Government Performance
  • Inherently Information Requirements
  • Make or Buy
  • Test and Evaluation
  • Logistics
  • Government Furnished Equipment (GFE)
  • Environmental and Energy Conservation Objectives
  • Security Considerations
  • Contract Administration
  • Milestone Steps
  • Identification of Participants in Acquisition Plan Preparation
  • Other Considerations


  • Make sure you address each of the components of FAR Part 7.104 and DFAR Subpart 207.1.
  • Keep a copy of the Acquisition Plan in your files at all times.  It’s a good point of reference during meetings to keep everyone focused on what the key deliverables are.
  • Make sure a program understands the key tasks identified in the Acquisition Plan. These are the tasks that a program is going to be judged against when fighting for funding, resources, and proceeding in the next acquisition phase.

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 5/22/2018

Acquisition Process

Acquisition Phases


The Department of Defense (DoD) Acquisition system is directed by DoD Instruction 5000.02 “Operation of the Defense Acquisition System”. This instruction provides the policies and principles that govern the defense acquisition system and the phases that form the foundation for all DoD programs. It also identifies the specific statutory and regulatory reports and other information requirements for each phase and Milestone. The DoD calls the system an event-based process where a program goes thru a series of phases, milestones, and reviews from beginning to end. Each milestone is the culmination of a phase where it’s determined if a program will process into the next phase.

Acquisition System


Materiel Solutions Analysis (MSA) Phase
The purpose of MSA Phase A is to analyze all potential material solutions for an identified need stated in an Initial Capabilities Document (ICD)
.  The phases consist of an Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) and Material Solution Analysis activities to include measures of effectiveness, cost estimates, schedule, the concept of operations, and risk.  The goal of this phase is to recommend possible solutions for further exploration in the Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TMRR) Phase.


Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TMRR) Phase
The purpose of the TMRR phase is to reduce technology risks and to determine the appropriate set of technologies to be integrated into a future system that satisfies the needs in an ICD.  This phase will consist of risk reduction, cost estimations, and programmatic activities.  The goal of this phase is to reduce the technology risk to an acceptable level, have a defined set of requirements in a Capability Development Document (CDD),
and a preliminary acquisition strategy to start an official program in the next phase.


Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase
Phase EMD is the start of an official program.  The purpose of this phase is the development of a capability.  This phase starts after a Milestone B
review and consists of two efforts, Integrated System Design (ISD) and System Capability and Manufacturing Process Demonstration (SC&MP).  It also contains a Critical Design Review (CDR) Assessment at the conclusion of the ISD effort.  The goal of this phase is to complete the engineering development of a capability or system and proceed into production and development.


Production and Development (PD) Phase
The purpose of the PD Phase is to achieve an operational capability that satisfies the users and mission needs.  This phase consists of two efforts: Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP)
and Full-Rate Production Decision Review (FRPDR).  The phase will also include operational testing of the capability to determine its effectiveness. 


Operations and Support (OS) Phase
The purpose of the OS Phase is Life-Cycle Sustainment and Disposal
.  This phase is initiated by the deployment of the first fielded system of a program. The Life-Cycle Sustainment efforts overlap the FRPDR effort of the Production and Development Phase.  The phase ends with the final disposal of a system.



AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 6/7/2018

Acquisition Process

Acquisition Executives


A Program Manager (PM) for any DoD program needs to know who the senior acquisition executives are that can influence their program. A PM needs to practice Social Engineering to keep these Stakeholders informed and advocates of their program. The main acquisition executives that a PM will/might have on a program are:

The Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) is the overall executive sponsor responsible for any Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP). The MDA formally initiates each increment of an evolutionary acquisition program. The PM is responsible for reporting to the MDA and adhering to their guidelines.


The Defense Acquisition Executive (DAE) is the individual responsible for supervising the Defense Acquisition System. The DAE takes precedence on all acquisition matters after the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) and the Deputy Secretary of Defense (DEPSECDEF).


The Program Element Officer (PEO) is a military or civilian official who has responsibility for directing several MDAPs and for assigned major system and non-major system acquisition programs. A PEO normally receives guidance from the CAE.


A Component Acquisition Executive (CAE) is a single official within a DoD component that is responsible for all acquisition functions within that component. This includes Secretaries of the Military Departments or Heads of Agencies with the power of regulation. In the Military Departments, the officials delegated as CAEs (also called Service Acquisition Executives (SAEs) are:

  • Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology)
  • Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development, and Acquisition)
  • Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition)


Service Acquisition Executives (SAE) also represent military departments and acquisition executives in other DoD components, such as the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), who have acquisition management responsibilities.



  • A PM also needs to work closely with the Program Element Monitor (PEM)

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 7/10/2017

Acquisition Process

Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM)


The Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM) documents the decisions made by the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) during a Milestone Decision Review.  It’s the formal justification that allows a program to proceed into the next acquisition phase.  The ADM also lists the tasks that have to be completed during an acquisition phase and the responsible agent for those tasks. Exit Criteria are documented in the ADM.


REGULATORY: Documents MDA decisions and direction.



  • Make sure you keep a copy of the ADM in your files at all times.  It’s a good point of reference during meetings to keep everyone focused on what the key deliverables are. Make sure a program understands the key tasks identified in the ADM. These are the tasks that a program is going to be judged against when fighting for funding, resources, and proceeding in the next acquisition phase.


AcqLinks and References:

updated: 6/29/2018

Acquisition Process

Operations and Support (O&S) Phase

Ops Acquisition System


The Operations and Support (O&S) Phase is where a system is used and supported by users in the field.  The main focus of this phase is the execution of a support system that sustains the system in the most cost-effective manner possible.  The second main focus of this phase is the disposal of a system when it has reached its useful life. See Disposal.


A major focus during the sustainment effort of the Operations and Support (O&S) Phase is identifying root causes and resolutions for safety and critical readiness degrading issues. These efforts include participating in Trade Studies and decision-making relative to changes to the product support package, process improvements, modifications, upgrades, and future increments of the system.  All these changes need to consider the operational needs and the remaining expected service life, Interoperability or technology improvements, parts or manufacturing obsolescence, aging aircraft (or system) issues, premature failures, changes in fuel or lubricants, and Joint or service commonality.


The Operations and Support (O&S) Phase should produce: (See Milestone Requirements Matrix)


The Major Review during the Operations and Support (O&S) Phase is:


AcqLinks & References:

Updated: 5/22/2018

Acquisition Process

Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase

EMD Acquisition System


The Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase is where a system is developed and designed before going into production. The EMD Phases starts after a successful Milestone B which is considered the formal start of any program.  The goal of this phase is to complete the development of a system or increment of capability, complete full system integration, develop affordable and executable manufacturing processes, complete system fabrication, and test and evaluate the system before proceeding into the Production and Deployment (PD) Phase.


The purpose of the EMD Phase is to: (See MiIlestone Activity Map)

  • Develop a system or increment of capability,
  • Design-in critical supportability aspects to ensure materiel availability with particular attention to reducing the logistics footprint,
  • Integrate hardware, software, and human systems,
  • Design for producibility,
  • Ensure affordability and protection of critical program information,
  • Demonstrate system integration, interoperability, supportability, safety, and utility, and
  • Ensure operational supportability with particular attention to minimizing the logistics footprint
  • Demonstrate Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, and sustainment features are included in the design of a system

In the EMD phase, the system architecture and system elements down to the configuration item (hardware and software) level are defined based upon the technology selected and integrated during the Materiel Solution Analysis (MSA) and the Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TD) Phase.  During this phase, the system design requirements are allocated to the major subsystem level and are refined as a result of developmental and operational tests.  The support concept and strategy are also refined with detailed design-to requirements determined for the product support package elements.


The EMD phase consists of two major efforts: (1) Integrated System Design and System Capability and (2) Manufacturing Process Demonstration. These two major efforts integrated the end item components and subsystems into a fully operational and supportable system. They also complete the detailed design to meet performance requirements with a producible and sustainable design and reduce system-level risk. EMD typically includes the demonstration of production prototype articles or Engineering Development Models (EDM).


Below are the major reviews conducted during the EMD Phase:



  • DoD Instruction 5000.02 describes the activities conducted during and information resulting from the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase.  The tables in Enclosure 4 of DoD Instruction 5000.02 list the information requirements required by the Defense Acquisition Management System during this phase.
  • See Defense Acquisition Life Cycle Wall Chart  for more information on what needs to be accomplished in this phase

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 5/22/2018

Acquisition Process

Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TMRR) Phase

TS Acquisition System


The purpose of the Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TMRR) Phase is to reduce technology risk, engineering integration, life-cycle cost risk and to determine the appropriate set of technologies to be integrated into a full system. The TMRR phase conducts competitive prototyping of system elements, refines requirements, and develops the Functional and Allocated Baselines of the end-item system configuration. The objective of the TMRR phase is the buying down technical risk and developing a sufficient understanding of a solution in order to make sound business decisions on initiating a formal acquisition program in the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development (EMD) Phase. (See Milestone Requirements Matrix)


The TMRR phase develops and demonstrates prototype designs to reduce technical risk, validate designs, validate cost estimates, evaluate manufacturing processes, and refine requirements. Based on refined requirements and demonstrated prototype designs, integrated systems design of the end-item system can be initiated. Additionally, the TMRR Phase efforts ensure the level of expertise required to operate and maintain the product is consistent with the force structure.


During this phase, the Program Manager (PM) will conduct a systems engineering trade-off analysis showing how cost and capability vary as a function of the major design parameters. The analysis will support the assessment of refined Key Performance Parameters (KPP) / Key System Attributes (KSA) in the Capability Development Document (CDD). Capability requirements proposed in the CDD (or equivalent requirements document) should be consistent with program affordability goals. [1]


Technology development is an iterative process of maturing technologies and refining user performance parameters to accommodate those technologies that are not sufficiently mature. The Initial Capabilities Document (ICD), the Technology Development Strategy (TDS), draft Capability Development Document (CDD), and draft System Requirements Document (SRD) guide the efforts of this phase, leading to an approved CDD.


The Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TMRR) Phase should:


The Technical Reviews conducted during the Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TMRR) Phase are:


AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 5/22/2018

Acquisition Process

Acquisition Category (ACAT)


The Defense Acquisition System divides acquisition programs into four (3) Acquisition Categories (ACAT): ACAT I, ACAT II, and ACAT III. The difference between each category is dependent on the location of a program in the Acquisition Process, funding amount for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E), total procurement cost, Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) special interest, and decision authority. The categories are listed below:


Acquisition Category Reason for ACAT Designation Decision Authority
ACAT I Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP)1 (10 U.S.C. of Title 10)

  • Dollar value for all increments of the program: estimated by the DAE to require an eventual total expenditure for research, development, and test and evaluation (RDT&E) of more than $525 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 constant dollars or, for procurement, of more than $3.065 billion in FY 2020 constant dollars
  • MDA designation

MDA designation as special interest3

ACAT ID: DAE or as delegated

ACAT IC: Head of the DoD Component or, if delegated, the CAE


  • Does not meet criteria for ACAT I
  • Major system (10 U.S.C. 2302d of Title 10)
    • Dollar value: estimated by the DoD Component Head to require an eventual total expenditure for RDT&E of more than $200 million in FY 2020 constant dollars, or for procurement of more than $920 million in FY 2020 constant dollars
    • MDA designation (10 U.S.C. 2302 of Title 10)
CAE or the individual designated by the CAE 4
  • Does not meet dollar value threshold for ACAT II or above
  • Is not designated a “major system” by the MDA
 Designated by the CAE4
  1. Unless designated an MDAP by the Secretary of Defense (SecDef), AIS programs5, Defense Business System programs, and programs or projects carried out using rapid prototyping or fielding procedures pursuant to Section 804 of Public Law (PL) 114-92, do not meet the definition of an MDAP.
  2. ACAT IB decision authority is assigned pursuant to Section 2430 of Title 10, U.S.C. Paragraph 3A.2.b. provides DoD implementation details.
  3. The Special Interest designation is typically based on one or more of the following factors: technological complexity; congressional interest; a large commitment of resources; or the program is critical to the achievement of a capability or set of capabilities, part of a system of systems, or a joint program. Programs that already meet the MDAP thresholds cannot be designated as Special Interest.
  4. As delegated by the SecDef or Secretary of the Military Department. 
  5. An AIS is a system of computer hardware, computer software, data or telecommunications that performs functions such as collecting, processing, storing, transmitting, and displaying information. Excluded are computer resources, both hardware and software, that are: embedded as an integral part of a weapon or weapon system; used for highly sensitive classified programs (as determined by the SecDef) or other highly sensitive information technology programs (as determined by the DoD Chief Information Officer; or determined by the DAE or designee to be better overseen as a non-AIS program (e.g., a program with a low ratio of research, development, testing, and evaluation funding to total program acquisition costs or that requires significant hardware development). An AIS that breaches the dollar thresholds in Section 2302d of Title 10, U.S.C., as adjusted, is a “major system.”

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 8/06/2020

Acquisition Process

Acquisition of Services

DoD Instruction 5000.74


DoD instruction 5000.74 establishes the policy, responsibilities, portfolio management, data collection, requirements development and provides direction for the acquisition of contracted services. It compliments DoD Instruction 5000.02 “Operations of the Adaptive Acquisition Framework”.  It provides guidance for the acquisition of contracted services from private sector entities by the DoD with a total estimated acquisition value in current year dollars at or above the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) and acquisition of all advisory and assistance services (A&AS) in support of research and development R&D or construction activities that are categorized within the knowledge-based services portfolio group


DoD Instruction 5000.74 Outline

  • Purpose
  • Applicability
  • Policy
  • Responsibility
  • Information Collection Requirements
  • Releasability
  • Effective Date
  • Enclosures:
    • References
    • Responsibility
    • Overview of Contracted Services
    • Roles and Responsibilities
    • Requirements
    • Data
    • IT Services

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 9/18/2020