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Acquisition Process

Section 806 “Developing, Prototyping, Deployment of Weapons System Components or Technology”

Note: Page still in development once we understand more

FY 17 NDAA Section 806

Prototype within 2 years

SecDef shall, within RDT&E budget, set forth amounts requested for Development, prototyping, and experimentation of weapon system components or other technologies, incl those based on commercial items and technologies, separate from acquisition programs of record

Amounts shall be structured into either capability, weapon system component, or technology portfolios that reflect the priority areas for prototype projects

Each Service Secretary will establish an oversight board or group of senior advisors to manage prototype projects

SAE may select the project for follow-on production contract or OT without competition

  • Addresses a high priority warfighter need or reduces the costs of a weapon system
  • Competitive procedures were used for the selection of parties for participation in the original prototype project
  • Participants in the original prototype project successfully completed the requirements of the project; and
  • Prototype of the system to be procured was demonstrated in a relevant environment

AcqLinks and References:

  • TBD

Updated: 7/6/2018

Acquisition Process

Milestone A

Milestone A is a Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) led review at the end of the Materiel Solutions Analysis (MSA) Phase in the Defense Acquisition Process.  Its purpose is to make a recommendation or seek approval to enter the Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TMRR) Phase. A milestone marks the start/or finish of a phase and has defined Entrance and Exit Criteria.

Acquisition System

Figure: Defense Acquisition Process

The Milestone A Review shall include: [2]

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

A Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP) or Major Automated Information Support (MAIS) may not receive Milestone A approval until the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) certifies, after consultation with the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) on matters related to program requirements and military needs, to the following, without modification, from 10 USC 2366a, as amended by Public law 111-23, “Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009”, May 22, 2009: [1]

  1. That the program fulfills an approved Initial Capabilities Document (ICD);
  2. That the program is being executed by an entity with a relevant core competency as identified by the Secretary of Defense;
  3. An Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) has been performed consistent with the study guidance developed by the Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (DCAPE);
  4. An initial Life-Cycle Cost Estimate for the program has been submitted, with the concurrence of the Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE), and the level of resources required to develop and procure the program is consistent with the priority level assigned by the JROC; and
  5. [only include if the system duplicates a capability already provided by an existing system] the duplication provided by this system and (name of existing system) program is necessary to appropriate.

For MDAP at Milestone A, the MDA must certify in writing to the Congress that the Department has completed an Analysis of Alternative (AoA) consistent with study guidance developed by the DCAPE, in addition to meeting other certification criteria (10 U.S.C. 2366a).

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. The Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) Program Support Team applies the DAPS methodology to MDAP and MAIS programs approaching a Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) review. A PSR is designed to assist the Program Managers (PM) and systems engineer prepare for Milestone A,
, and C decision reviews.

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 5/24/2018

Acquisition Process

NSS 03-01

Note: RECENDED on 23 March 2009 

The National Security Space Policy (NSS) 03-01 provides the guidance for the development of spaces acquisition systems for the DoD.  It provides the policies and principles that form the foundation for all space DoD programs and establishes a management framework for translating user needs and technology opportunities into stable, affordable and well-managed space acquisition programs.  The policy also identifies the specific statutory and regulatory reports and other information requirements for each Key Decision Point (KDP). The policy is published by the Secretary of the Air Force/USA.

The NSS procurement model is based on the development of space systems requiring a longer research and development phase, higher technology needs and smaller quantities.  These systems require a different procurement approach that the typical DoD 5000 model that is focused on large scale procurement. The funding profile for a typical NSS program is usually front-loaded for the longer research and development times. This requires the key decisions to be conducted earlier than the typical DoDI 5000.02 program.

Table of Content

  1. Purpose
  2. Authority
  3. Applicability
  4. DoD Space MDA Guiding Principles
  5. National Security Space (NSS) Acquisition Approach
  6. Appendix
    • NSS Acquisition Model, Key Decision Points (KDP), and Acquisition Phases
    • Defense Space Acquisitions Boards (DSAB) and Independent Program Assessment (IPA) Process
    • DoD Space Independent Cost Analysis Process
    • Key DoD Space Acquisition Documentation
  7. Enclosures
    • IPA Readiness Review Checklist and KDP Entry Criteria
    • DoD Space Acquisitions Documentation Approval / Coordination Requirements Matrix
    • DoD Space Statutory Reference Information
    • Integrated Program Summary

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 1/30/2018

Acquisition Process

Live-Fire Test and Evaluation (LFT&E)

Live-Fire Test and Evaluation (LFT&E) is an assessment of the vulnerability and lethality of a system as it progresses through Developmental Test & Evaluation (DT&E) prior to Full-Rate Production (FRP). LFT&E typically includes testing at the component, subassembly, and subsystem level, and may also draw upon design analyses, modeling and simulation, combat data, and related sources such as analyses of safety and mishap data.

LFT&E is guided by a statutory requirement for “realistic survivability testing” or “realistic lethality testing” as defined in (10 USC 2366). A system can go thru Early and Full Up LFT&E.  One of the purposes of conducting LFT&E early in the program life cycle is to allow time to correct any design deficiency demonstrated by the test and evaluation.

LFT&E should accomplish the following:

  • Provide information to decision-makers on potential user casualties, vulnerabilities, and lethality, taking into equal consideration susceptibility to attack and combat performance of the system;
  • Ensure that knowledge of user casualties and system vulnerabilities or lethality is based on testing of the system under realistic combat conditions;
  • Allow any design deficiency identified by the testing and evaluation to be corrected in design or employment before proceeding beyond Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP); and
  • Assess recoverability from battle damage and battle damage repair capabilities and issues.

Test & Evaluation Strategy
The LFT&E Strategy for a given system should be structured and scheduled so that any design changes resulting from the testing and analysis, described in the LFT&E Strategy, may be incorporated before proceeding beyond LRIP.

There are thee (3) specific types of DT&E are:

  1. Production Acceptance Test & Evaluation (PAT&E)
  2. Live-Fire Test & Evaluation (LFT&E)
  3. Product Qualification Testing (PGT)


  • LFT&E has a statutory requirement to emphasize personnel survivability for covered systems occupied by U.S. personnel (10 USC 2366).
  • Covered system” is the DoD term that is intended to include all categories of systems or programs requiring LFT&E. – A “covered system” means a system that Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), acting for the Secretary of Defense, has designated for LFT&E oversight.
  • For a program deemed not o need LFT&E, a waiver package must be sent to the Congressional defense committees prior to Milestone B

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: /01/2017

Acquisition Process

Initial Operational Capability (IOC)

The Initial Operational Capability (IOC) is a point in time during the Production & Deployment (PD) Phase where a system can meet the minimum operational (Threshold and Objective) capabilities for a user’s stated need.  The operational capability consists of support, training, logistics, and system interoperability within the DoD operational environment.  IOC is a good gauging point to see if there are any refinements needs before proceeding to Full Operational Capability (FOC).

The DoD conducts Post-Deployment Reviews (PDR) beginning at IOC and then nominally every three (3) to five (5) or when precipitated by changes in requirements/design or performance problems. These periodic assessments verify whether the fielded system continues to meet or exceed thresholds and objectives for cost, performance, and support parameters approved at the Full-Rate Production Decision (FRPD).


AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 8/01/2017

Acquisition Process

Major Program Reviews

Alternative Systems Review (ASR)
The ASR is a technical review completed prior to Milestone-A  which assesses the preliminary materiel solutions that have been developed during the Materiel Solution Analysis (MSA) phase. The reviews examines each proposed materiel solution(s) to see which one has the best potential to be cost effective, affordable, operationally effective and suitable, and can be developed in a timely manner with an acceptable level of risk. The information obtained from the ASR is used in the Milestone-A review to determine if the solutions(s) under review can proceed into the Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TD) Phase.

System Requirements Review (SRR)
The SRR is a technical review conducted during the Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TD) Phase to determine the progress a program has made in defining system level requirements. This review determines the progress of the systems engineering effort and if the effort is on track with meeting the capability needs defined in the Initial Capabilities Document (ICD). The SRR is used during the Milestone-B review to determine if a program can process into the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) Phase.

Preliminary Design Review (PDR)
The PDR is a technical review conducted during the Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TD) Phase to determine if a system is ready to proceed into detailed design.  It determines if the current preliminary system design meets the stated performance requirements within cost, schedule and risk. It also ensures that each function in the functional baseline has been allocated to one or more system configuration items.

Critical Design Review (CDR)
The CDR is a technical review conducted during the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) Phase to determine if a system can proceed into fabrication, demonstration, and test and can meet the stated performance requirements within cost, schedule, and risk.  This review assesses the system final design for each configuration item in the system’s product baseline to ensure it has been captured in the detailed design documentation.

Production Readiness Review (PRR)
The PRR review examines a program to determine if the design is ready for production. It determined if the prime contractor and subcontractors have accomplished production planning without incurring unacceptable levels of risks that will breach thresholds of schedule, performance and cost. The review evaluates the production-configured system to determine if it meets all system requirements and that those requirements are traceability to the final production system.

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 7/11/2017     

Acquisition Process

Operational Test Readiness Review


The Operational Test Readiness Review (OTRR) assess if a system should proceed into Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E). The review addresses and verifies system reliability, maintainability, and supportability performance and determines if the hazards and Environmental, Safety, Occupational and Health (ESOH) residual risks are manageable within the planned testing operations.  This assessment determines if changes are required in planning, resources, or testing necessary to proceed with IOT&E. Of critical importance to this review is the understanding of available system performance to meet the Capability Production Document (CPD) performance threshold values. The OTRR may be conducted in multiple steps to ensure that the “production configuration” system (usually the Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) system) can proceed into Operational Test & Evaluation (OT&E) with a high probability of success.

Checklist: Operational Test Readiness Review (OTRR) Checklist

Programs on the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) Test and Evaluation (T&E) oversight list are required by DoD policy to establish a Service process for determining and certifying a program’s readiness for IOT&E by the Service Component Acquisition Executive (CAE).  The OTRR is only complete when the CAE evaluates and determines materiel system readiness for IOT&E. The OTRR may be conducted by the Program Manager (PM) or the Operational Test Agency, depending on Service policy.

DoD specifies that the OTRR review shall include:

AcqLinks and References:

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 uses to be known as a Post IOC Review

AcqLinks and References: