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Achieving Effective Acquisition of Information Technology in the Department of Defense Appendix B Program Phases and Decision Milestones for SDCI Programs This appendix and Appendix C provide a somewhat-detailed candidate description of program phases and decision milestones for SDCI and CHSS programs, respectively. Rather than being explicitly prescriptive, these appendixes are meant to offer plausible potential ways in which the committee’s recommended changes might be incorporated that align with current acquisition methods. There are, of course, other possible implementations of the committee’s recommendations. MATERIAL DEVELOPMENT DECISION (SDCI PROGRAMS) Purpose: The purpose of the Material Development Decision (MDD) is to validate the need for material development to address the requirement for a new or improved mission capability as a result of a projected deficiency or obsolescence in existing systems that cannot be addressed appropriately through continued evolution of those systems; a technological opportunity; or an opportunity to reduce operating cost. An additional purpose is to gain approval of a draft top-level (“big-R”) capability description and draft concept of operations (CONOPS) for the capability. These documents should each be top-level documents of relatively brief length but should provide the overarching direction for the program. PM Responsibilities: Not applicable; no program exists at this point. PMT Responsibilities: Develop and agree on the rationale for the material development need, the draft mission capability description, and the draft CONOPS for the capability.
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Achieving Effective Acquisition of Information Technology in the Department of Defense MDA Responsibilities: Validate the rationale for the material development need, and approve the draft capability description and the draft CONOPS for the capability. If appropriate, resolve any issues not mutually agreed on across the members of the portfolio management team (PMT). Provide guidance to apply during the Business Case Development Phase, as appropriate. BUSINESS CASE DEVELOPMENT PHASE (SDCI PROGRAMS) The Business Case Development Phase enables leadership to make an informed, rational initial decision to invest in a program. It should further evolve the draft capability description and draft CONOPS and develop alternative approaches or system concepts for the proposed program. It should formalize the approach to quantify costs that will be incurred in the program and benefits expected to be achieved by the program, and conduct an analysis of the trade-offs among the alternatives to assess the anticipated costs and benefits of each in order to recommend a preferred approach or system concept. It should also identify major risk factors that could jeopardize success and propose mitigation strategies for each major risk factor. In so doing, it should develop a proposed schedule and budget for the capability increments from the initial capability increment through to the final capability increment and anticipated life-cycle costs, and propose an allocation of the top-level requirements identified in the draft capability description to the capability increments. This proposed plan should be a “living document” intended to be refined in subsequent planning and analysis phases as learning and communications continue throughout the multiple capability increments of the program. The Business Case Development Phase is carried out under the leadership and direction of the PMT for the proposed program. MILESTONE A: PLANNING, ANALYSIS, AND CONCEPT DEMONSTRATION DECISION (SDCI PROGRAMS) Purpose: The purpose of the Milestone A: Planning, Analysis, and Concept Demonstration Decision is to validate the business case and analysis of alternatives, and to authorize entry into the initial Planning, Analysis, and Concept Demonstration Phase. PM Responsibilities: Not applicable; no program exists at this point. PMT Responsibilities: Develop and agree to the business case and recommended alternative. MDA Responsibilities: Approve the business case and recommended
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Achieving Effective Acquisition of Information Technology in the Department of Defense alternative. Authorize commencement of the initial Planning, Analysis, and Concept Demonstration Phase and provide guidance for that phase. INCREMENT 1 PLANNING, ANALYSIS , AND CONCEPT DEMONSTRATION PHASE (SDCI PROGRAMS) The purpose of the Planning, Analysis, and Concept Demonstration Phase is to provide further validation of the recommended alternative approach and its projected costs and benefits prior to formal initiation of the program. Depending on the objectives of the program and the degree to which it is attempting to address requirements or employ technology in a manner without substantial precedent, this phase can use prototyping beneficially to demonstrate key features of the proposed solution, such as the following. Demonstrate key concepts that the system is intended to address. Demonstrate the approach to key nonfunctional requirements and explain its anticipated feasibility. Demonstrate the approach to high-value business or warfighting functional “big-R” requirements and explain its anticipated feasibility. Demonstrate the approach to quantifying benefit in terms meaningful to the end users. Demonstrate the ability to function properly in the intended operational environment for the system, including constrained communications and networking environments. Based on the learning and communication with the end users that result from this concept demonstration prototyping, the planning and analysis efforts should refine the draft capability description and CONOPS, refine the business case, and refine the allocation of the top-level requirements in the draft capability description to the capability increments. It should also establish a vision for the end-state target architecture appropriate to support the full scope of intended capability and appropriate to support the full scale of the intended deployment. Care must be exercised, however, to avoid having development of an ideal architecture inappropriately severely delay delivery of meaningful capability to end users. Finally, it should develop the initial proposed “small-r” requirements for the first capability increment and develop an initial allocation of those requirements to the time-boxed iterations within the overall capability increment. In developing this allocation, it should adhere to the principle of focusing on difficult technology issues and high-value business or warfighting functional capabilities in early increments. If the capability to be developed in each increment of the IID-based
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Achieving Effective Acquisition of Information Technology in the Department of Defense program requires complex deployment processes and/or specific end-user training, the planning activities should also address the intended scope and timeline of deployment across the multiple capability increments of the program. The Increment 1 Planning, Analysis, and Concept Demonstration Phase can readily be adapted to a multiple-award contract model with a subsequent competitive selection of a single provider coincident with the initial Milestone B decision if such additional competition is deemed appropriate in the program’s acquisition strategy. INCREMENT 2 AND BEYOND PLANNING AND ANALYSIS PHASES (SDCI PROGRAMS) For subsequent planning and analysis phases after the initial one leading to the initial Milestone B Program Initiation Decision, the above process can be substantially abbreviated. Follow-on prototyping should be performed if and only if it adds value to resolve fundamental issues or to enable a choice among alternative approaches (operational or technological) in a manner not readily done within the iterations of the capability increment. Based on learning in the previous capability increments and from field experience with the deployed product, all planning and analysis phases after the initial one should focus on incremental refinement of the following: The top-level capability description and CONOPS, The business case, The allocation of top-level requirements from the capability description for the increment to each of the time-boxed iterations, and Development of the initial proposed small-r requirements for the next capability increment and their initial allocation to the time-boxed iterations within the capability increment. If the capability to be developed in each increment of the IID-based program requires complex deployment processes and/or specific end-user training, the planning activities should also address the intended scope and timeline of deployment across the multiple capability increments of the program. MILESTONE B: PROGRAM OR CAPABILITY INCREMENT INITIATION DECISION (SDCI PROGRAMS) Purpose: The purpose of the Milestone B: Program or Capability Increment Initiation Decision is to validate the overall refined capability
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Achieving Effective Acquisition of Information Technology in the Department of Defense description and how big-R requirements are allocated across all subsequent increments, and the time-phased scope of deploying capability across the increments. It must also validate the proposed small-r refined requirements allocated to the next increment, together with the plan for how the increment will be executed. If this is not the Milestone B decision for the first increment, the Milestone B decision should ideally coincide with the Milestone C decision for the previous increment. PM Responsibilities: Conduct the planning and analysis phase and any required concept demonstrations. Together with the PMT, refine the allocation of big-R requirements to all subsequent increments and develop the small-r refined requirements to be undertaken in the next increment. Develop an initial allocation of the small-r requirements for the next increment across the series of iterations that will be conducted in the next increment. PMT Responsibilities: Together with the PM, develop the refined allocation of big-R requirements to all subsequent increments. Together with the PM, develop and reach agreement on the small-r refined requirements for the next increment. MDA Responsibilities: Approve the overall program baseline allocation of big-R requirements across all subsequent increments and the small-r requirements allocated to the next increment. Authorize commencement of the program or next-increment System Development and Demonstration Phase and provide any guidance deemed appropriate for the conduct of that phase. SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT AND DEMONSTRATION (SDCI PROGRAMS) The purpose of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) Phase is to develop the next increment of capability through a learning and communicating cycle of time-boxed iterations informed by the end user’s perspective and integrated test and evaluation as key components of the learning and communications process throughout the iterations. During each iteration of this learning and communications cycle, the PM, in cooperation with the “voice of the end user,” has the ability to refine and reprioritize the small-r requirements for subsequent iterations consistent with the learning that has occurred in prior iterations. If, during this process, the PM determines it will be impossible to substantively meet within the established cost and schedule baseline the big-R requirements allocated to the increment, the PM should notify the PMT and the MDA and present a recommended course of action. Conversely, if the PM, informed by the perspective of end users, determines that intermediate iterations have produced sufficiently significant capability to warrant
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Achieving Effective Acquisition of Information Technology in the Department of Defense early fielding, the PM should likewise notify the PMT and MDA with a recommended course of action. MILESTONE C: CAPABILITY INCREMENT DEPLOYMENT DECISION (SDCI PROGRAMS) Purpose: The purpose of the Milestone C: Capability Increment Deployment Decision is to assess the risk versus benefit of deploying the capability developed during the SDD phase to the subset of end users within the intended deployment scope. This is a marked departure from the current approach of assessing whether a fixed set of requirements including key performance parameters (KPPs) have been achieved with cost and schedule floating to whatever level is necessary to achieve that objective. In this approach, the increment is time-boxed and executed with the cost and schedule constrained to the baseline set at the previous Milestone B decision and the degree of success in meeting the big-R requirements set for the increment. The attendant risk versus benefit of fielding the product is the key consideration for the decision. If there are subsequent increments, this Milestone C decision should ideally be conducted coincident with the Milestone B decision for the subsequent increment, since many of the factors affecting the deployment decision can also materially affect the composition of the next increment. PM Responsibilities: In conjunction with operational end users, DT&E and OT&E stakeholders, security C&A stakeholders, and interoperability stakeholders that have been responsible for the integrated test and evaluation conducted throughout the increment, the PM shall assess the risk versus benefit in deploying the capability to the intended end users and make a deployment recommendation to the PMT and the MDA. PMT Responsibilities: Validate the assessment of benefits and risks conducted by the PM and all integrated T&E stakeholders and their deployment recommendation based on that assessment. Make an independent deployment recommendation to the MDA. MDA Responsibilities: Approve (or disapprove) the deployment recommendation made by the PM and provide guidance for subsequent capability increments. DEPLOYMENT PHASE (SDCI PROGRAMS) The purpose of the Deployment Phase is to deploy the developed capability to the intended subset of end users. If the capability developed during the SDD Phase and its deployment approach are straightforward, the Deployment Phase can be a very simple and straightforward activity (for example, making the capability available online as a service, or
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Achieving Effective Acquisition of Information Technology in the Department of Defense over the network as an automatically installable download). If, however, the capability is complex, and especially if there are interdependencies with other programs, complex installation procedures not suitable for “point-and-click” installation by the end user, and/or unique training requirements, significant planning and effort may be required to deploy the capability. This is especially the case for deployable or deploying units because the capability deployment activities of the acquisition program must then be integrated into the overall operational employment schedule for each unit. In that case, capability deployments will generally be planned during the periods between a unit’s operational deployments so that training can be conducted prior to the workup process preceding the next operational unit deployment to a forward area of responsibility. During the Deployment Phase for these more complex cases, the PM must perform the detailed coordination with the operating forces to plan, schedule, and execute capability deployment activities including preparatory work, pre-installation test and checkout specific to each installation, installation, post-installation operational validation, training, and, if appropriate, integration validation with other interdependent capabilities (for example, across a portfolio). In Figure 3.2, the end of the Deployment Phase for an increment is aligned with the Milestone C decision for the next increment since generally, the subsequent increment will represent improved capability and, once it is available, should be utilized for subsequent deployments whenever possible. OPERATIONS AND SUSTAINMENT PHASE (SDCI PROGRAMS) The purpose of the Operations and Sustainment Phase is to support all previously deployed versions of a capability still in operational use. This support includes activities such as operating an end-user help desk and responding to problems encountered in operational use of the capability, including the development and distribution of patches and maintaining a configuration status accounting baseline for all installations of the capability. This phase also includes the collection of metrics built into the deployed capability such as data on utilization of specific features, so that unused elements of the capability can be removed. This phase is shown with an indeterminate duration in Figure 3.2, since the complexities discussed above in conjunction with the Deployment Phase will, in general, result in multiple versions in use at any given point in time. Even in the simplest case, when end-user “point-and-click” automatic download and installation is the deployment approach, a predetermined interval is typically necessary to allow time for the installed base of end users to update their installations prior to terminating support for previously released versions, as is often the case in commercial software applications.