BOX 1.1

Definitions Related to the Term “IT System” in Department of Defense Directives

Department of Defense Instruction (DODI) 5000.2, published most recently in December 2008, defines the authoritative DOD acquisition process. The terms “IT system,” “information technology system,” and “information system” are not explicitly defined in DODI 5000.2, although the term “IT system” is used in several places, as is the term “information system.” An “automated information system (AIS)” is defined as follows:

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:

  1. an integral part of a weapon or weapon system;

  2. used for highly sensitive classified programs (as determined by the Secretary of Defense);

  3. used for other highly sensitive information technology programs (as determined by the ASD(NII)/DOD CIO) [Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration/DOD Chief Information Officer]; or

  4. determined by the USD(AT&L) [Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics] or designee to be better overseen as a non-AIS program (e.g., a program with a low ratio of RDT&E [research, development, test, and evaluation] funding to total program acquisition costs or that requires significant hardware development).1

This definition focuses on characteristics relevant to the matter of who manages acquisition oversight for various types of programs based on the application, funding, or sensitivity of the program.

DOD Directive (DODD) 8000 specifies oversight responsibilities for DOD information-management activities and supporting information technology, implementing provisions of the Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996 (part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996, Public Law 104-106). “Information technology” is defined in the directive as follows:

  • Software development and commercial off-the-shelf integration (SDCI) programs—those that focus on the development of new software to provide new functionality or on the development of software to integrate commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, and

  • COTS hardware, software, and services (CHSS) programs—those that are focused exclusively on COTS hardware, software, or services without modification for DOD purposes (that is, the capabilities being purchased are determined solely by the marketplace and not by the DOD).

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