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Acquisition Process

Production & Deployment (PD) Phase

PD Acquisition System


The Production and Deployment (PD) Phase is where a system that satisfies an operational capability is produced and deployed to an end-user.  The phase has two major efforts; (1) Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) and (2) Full-Rate Production and Deployment (FRP&D).  The phase begins after a successful Milestone C review and Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) Phase.


The activities during the Production and Deployment (PD) Phase include:


The Technical Reviews conducted during the Production and Deployment (PD) Phase are:



  • In this phase, the test and evaluation processes frequently reveal issues that require improvements or redesign. As the testing environment more closely approaches that of the users’ needs, the required improvements might be complex and/or subtle.
  • The initial manufacturing process may also reveal issues that were not anticipated. It may be discovered that changing the product somewhat may provide enhancements in the manufacturing or other supporting processes

AcqLinks and References: 

Updated: 7/11/2017

Acquisition Process

Materiel Solution Analysis (MSA) Phase

MSA Acquisition System


The Materiel Solution Analysis (MSA) Phase assesses potential solutions for a needed capability in an Initial Capabilities Document (ICD) and satisfies the phase-specific Entrance Criteria for the next program milestone designated by the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA). The MSA phase is critical to program success and achieving materiel readiness because it’s the first opportunity to influence systems supportability and affordability by balancing technology opportunities with operational and sustainment requirements. During this phase, various alternatives are analyzed to select the materiel solution and develop the Technology Development Strategy (TDS) to fill any technology gaps.


The MSA phase also includes identifying and evaluating affordable product support alternatives with their associated requirements to meet the operational requirements and associated risks. Consequently, in describing the desired performance to meet mission requirements, sustainment metrics should be defined in addition to the traditional performance design criteria.


The main task during this phase is to conduct an Analysis of Alternatives (AoA). The purpose of an AoA is to evaluate the mission effectiveness, operational suitability, and estimated Life-Cycle Cost (LLC) of alternative solutions to meet a mission capability in an ICD in determining the system concept.


The purpose of the Materiel Solutions Analysis (MSA) Phase is to: (See Milestone Activity Map)


The MSA Phase is critical for establishing the overarching trade space available to the Program Manager (PM) in subsequent phases. User capabilities are examined against technologies, both mature and immature, to determine feasibility and alternatives to fill user needs. Once the requirements have been identified, a gap analysis should be performed to determine the additional capabilities required to implement the support concept and its drivers within the trade space.


The MSA Phase ends when the AoA has been completed, materiel solution options for the capability need to be identified in the approved ICD have been recommended by the lead DoD Component conducting the AoA, and the phase-specific Entrance Criteria for the initial review milestone have been satisfied.


The following reviews take place during the MSA Phase:


AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 5/22/2018

Acquisition Process

Materiel Development Decision (MDD)


A Materiel Development Decision (MDD) is a point in time where the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) analysis has identified a capability gap/need and an MDD Review has determined a materiel solution is needed. The MDD is the formal point that initiates the Materiel Solutions Analysis (MSA) Phase.

Acquisition System


After a program has an approved MDD, the Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) process is expected to contribute to the selection of a preferred materiel solution that satisfies the capability gap/need documented in the approved Initial Capabilities Document (ICD). In an Evolutionary Acquisition program, the initial increment will be preceded by a MDD but follow-on increments will start at a predetermined Milestone.


There is no information required by Statute for an MDD for an Acquisition Program.


AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 6/18/2018

Acquisition Process

Technology Development Strategy (TDS)


Note: The Technology Development Strategy (TDS) is no longer required for DoD Programs according to DoD Instruction 5000.02. A program’s technology development approach is now detailed in a programs Acquisition Strategy.


The Technology Development Strategy (TDS) describes the acquisition approach that will be undertaken to mature key technologies and maturation efforts to Initial Operational Capability (IOC).  This approach discusses business strategies, developmental strategies, support strategies, and Critical Program Information (CPI) to manage program risks and meet program objectives while balancing cost, schedule, and performance.


Template: Technology Development Strategy (TDS)


The TDS guides the efforts of the TD Phase and serves as a baseline for efforts that continually evolve throughout a program. The TDS allows the program manager to track program goals against a baseline.  This tracking will alert the program manager to any potential problems that might arise and perform corrective actions to keep a program within its cost, schedule, and performance goals.

The content of the TDS should include:


  • Remember the TDS is not a Technology Development Plan; it’s an overall program technology strategy to address technology maturation in terms of cost, schedule and performance. The TDS should contain a preliminary description of how the potential acquisition program will be divided into increments based on mature technologies.
  • I believe its always a good approach to develop a comprehensive TDS prior to going into the Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction Phase (TMRR). Especially if a program is developing critical technology with current low TRL.

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 2/1/2017

Acquisition Process

Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell (JRAC)


The Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell (JRAC) was established to meet Joint Urgent Operational Needs (JUON) and Joint Emergent Operational Needs (JEON) in a quicker time frame than the standard Defense Acquisition Process approach. The JRAC rapidly assesses requirements and solutions, collaborating with the Joint Staff J-8 and the respective Combatant Commanders (COCOM), and facilitates the transfer of funds to DoD components to resolve Immediate Warfighter Needs (IWN). The JRAC provides the COCOMs the means to rapidly resolve shortfalls and capability gaps identified during ongoing operations.


Rapid Acquisition Fund (RAF): The RAF establishes a flexible means for the JRAC to rapidly respond in the current year to JUON and IWN from Combatant Commanders (COCOM). [1]

The JRAC reports directly to the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics) (USD(AT&L)).


See: DoD Instruction 5000.02 “Operation of the Defense Acquisition System” – Enclosure 13


JRAC Procedures:

  • Commander originator recommends JUON & obtains approval of first General Officer (GO) in chain-of-command.
  • JUON submitted to COCOM for certification/prioritization.
  • COCOM rejects or certifies/prioritizes JUON and submits to Joint Staff / JRAC simultaneously.
  • With Joint Staff recommendation, JRAC designates or declines JUON as IWN within 14 days of submission to JRAC.
  • JRAC tracks IWN and facilitates its resolution and forwards to DoD Component for action.


SECDEF granted special authority in Bob Stump National Defense Act for Fiscal Year 2003 as amended by the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 for JRAC.

  • Waive statutes and regulations for testing and procurements – short of criminal statutes
  • $100 million in authority, per fiscal year, to move funding regardless of “color”
  • Notify Congress within 15 days of action
  • Provides valuable flexibility for quick response to Immediate Warfighter Needs in response to combat fatality


AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 7/6/2018

Acquisition Process

In-Service Review


The In-Service Review (ISR) is an assessment of a system to determine if it’s operationally employed with well-understood and Managed Risks. It assesses the current status, operational health and corrective actions to satisfy user operational needs based on user feedback and performance metrics. The reviews should be conducted at defined intervals to identify needed revisions and corrections and to allow for timely improvements in the strategies to meet performance requirements. The ISR should provide the following:

  1. An overall System Hazard Risk Assessment,
  2. An Operational Readiness Assessment in terms of system problems (hardware, software, and production discrepancies), and
  3. Status of current system problem (discrepancy) report inflow, resolution rate, trends, and updated metrics. The metrics may be used to prioritize budget requirements.


The Program Manager (PM) should conduct regularly scheduled ISR with the users.  Included in the review should be engineering, sustainment stakeholders (e.g., suppliers, representatives from primary supply chain providers, and the comptroller communities) and product support Integrated Product Team (IPT) members, as well as independent sustainment subject matter experts.


A successful ISR should provide the PM and other stakeholders with the integrated information they need to establish priorities and to develop execution and out year budget requirements. Typical success outcomes include the following:

  • System problems have been categorized to support the operating and support requirements determination process.
  • Required budgets (in terms of work years) have been established to address all system problems in all priority categories.
  • Current levels of System Operational Risk and System Readiness have been quantified and related to current operations and systems and procurement budgets.
  • Future levels of System Operational Risk and System Readiness have been quantified and related to future year operations and systems and procurement budgets.



  • An ISR used to be known as a Post IOC Review

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 8/16/2017

Acquisition Process

Full Operational Capability (FOC)


The Full Operational Capability (FOC) is when a system is delivered to a user and they have the ability to fully employ and maintain it to meet an operational need. The mission capabilities of a FOC system are defined in a system’s Capability Development Document (CDD) and Capability Production Document (CPD).

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 2/11/2017

Acquisition Process

Integrated Baseline Review (IBR)


An Integrated Baseline Review (IBR) is a joint assessment conducted by the government Program Manager (PM) and the contractor to establish a mutual understanding of the Performance Measurement Baseline (PMB). This understanding provides for an agreement on a plan of action to evaluate the risks inherent in the PMB and the management processes that operate during program execution. PM’s are required to conduct IBRs on all cost or incentive contracts that require the implementation of Earned Value Management (EVM) (contracts valued at or greater than $20 million).  IBRs should be used to understand:

  • The scope of the PMB consistent with authorizing documents;
  • Management control processes;
  • Risks in the PMB associated with cost, schedules, and resources; and
  • Corrective actions where necessary.

IBR Figure

Completion of the review should result in the assessment of risk within the PMB and the degree to which the following have been established:

  1. The technical scope of work is fully included and is consistent with authorizing documents,
  2. Key project schedule milestones are identified and supporting schedules reflect a logical flow to accomplish the work,
  3. Resources (budgets, facilities, infrastructure, personnel, skills, etc.) are available and are adequate for the assigned tasks,
  4. Tasks are planned and can be measured objectively relative to the technical progress,
  5. Rationales underlying the PMB are reasonable, and
  6. Management processes support the successful execution of the project.


IBRs should be scheduled as early as practicable and the timing of the IBRs should take into consideration the contract period of performance. The process will be conducted not later than 180 calendar days (6 months) after:

  1. Contract award,
  2. Exercise of significant contract options, and
  3. Incorporation of major modifications.


IBRs are also performed at the discretion of the PM or within a reasonable time after the occurrence of major events in the life of a program. These events may be the completion of the Preliminary Design Review (PDR), completion of the Critical Design Review (CDR), a significant shift in the content and/or time phasing of the PMB, or when a major milestone such as the start of the production option of a development contract is reached. Continuous assessment of the PMB will identify when a new IBR should be conducted.



AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 5/24/2018

Acquisition Process

Exit & Entrance Criteria


Exit Criteria are program-specific accomplishments that must be satisfactorily demonstrated before a program can progress further in the current acquisition phase or transition to the next acquisition phase.


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


Exit criteria are normally selected to track progress in important technical, schedule, or management risk areas. They serve as gates that, when successfully passed or exited, demonstrate that the program is on track to achieve its final program goals and should be allowed to continue with additional activities within an acquisition phase or be considered for continuation into the next acquisition phase. Exit criteria are some level of demonstrated performance outcome (e.g., level of engine thrust), the accomplishment of some process at some level of efficiency (e.g., manufacturing yield), or successful accomplishment of some event (e.g., first flight), or some other criterion (e.g., the establishment of a training program or inclusion of a particular clause in the follow-on contract) that indicates that aspect of the program is progressing satisfactorily. [1]  


Exit criteria are documented in the Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM) and are normally set by the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA).


Exit Criteria Checklists, Questions, and Guidelines:

Entrance Criteria
Entrance criteria are the minimum accomplishments required to be completed by each program prior to entry into the next acquisition phase or effort. They are documented in the Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM) and are normally set by the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA).

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 6/7/2018

Acquisition Process

Evolutionary Acquisitions


Evolutionary Acquisition is a DoD procurement approach where capability is developed and delivered in Increments.  Incremental development allows for future capabilities to be added to a system as upgrades in improved technology or other increase in operational capabilities to meet a desired instate.  Each block upgrade is managed as a separate increment for a fully operational system. Each increment will have its own set of requirements, review cycles, certification and accreditation, milestones and Acquisition Strategy.


Evolutionary Acquisitions was developed in the 1990’s to meet the rapidly changing nature of technology.  In order for operational capability to be delivered in a timely manner, capabilities had to be developed that allowed for easy upgrades when desired technology matured.  Lessons learned proved it was to cost prohibited to upgrade systems that were never meant to be upgraded.  This approach became essential with the increase reliance on technology.


According to then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, “The DoD acquisition process is not getting new systems to the field quickly enough. The current average acquisition response time is 10 years, longer for major weapon systems. We are delivering technology that is at least a generation old. To reverse this trend, we must change our ways of doing business.” As a result Evolutionary Acquisitions was implemented.



AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 6/7/2018