National Security Space Acquisition Policy DoD Interim Guidance


DoD Space System Acquisition Process

  • 51 pages
  • For Official Use Only
  • March 23, 2009



Over the first fifty years of the history of space acquisition, several enduring principles have emerged. The following principles should be considered by all NSS members to set the tone and guide decision making in the acquisition of NSS systems:

a.) Mission Success: The overarching principle behind all National Security Space programs is mission success. When acquiring space systems, mission success must be the first consideration when assessing the risks and trades among cost, schedule, and performance. Risk management, test planning, system engineering, and funding profiles must be driven by this objective.

b.) Accountability: The acquisition execution chain is ultimately accountable for a program’s success or failure. The SPD/PM, as the leader of the Government-Contractor team for a program, must be accountable and have the authority to accomplish the program’s objectives and meet the user’s needs. The PEO or CAE and the DoD Space MDA have the responsibility to provide the SPD/PM with the resources and guidance necessary to accomplish these goals.

c.) Streamlined /Agile: The NSS acquisition team should work to reduce the acquisition decision cycle time and have short, clear lines of authority with decision making and program execution at the lowest levels possible. Staff elements, at all levels, exist to advise the acquisition decision making principals (i.e., DoD Space MDA, CAE, PEO, SPD/PM). No more than two layers can be between the SPD/PM and the MDA. (Ref: 5000.1)

d.) Inclusive: Advice and information should be actively sought from all parties with an interest in NSS programs. A collegial/team relationship among all government, academia, and industry partners is the goal. DoD Space acquisition plans and documents should be coordinated with the appropriate lead user/operating command.

e.) Flexible: The “model” acquisition processes outlined in this document should be tailored to properly fit the circumstances of each NSS program. Only those activities, reports, plans, coordinations, or reviews required by statute or directed by the NSS acquisition execution chain are required.

f.) Stable: Within a given acquisition increment, stable budgets, stable requirements, stable direction, and low personnel turnover are necessary for successful program acquisition. Decisions made by the acquisition execution chain must be durable.

g.) Disciplined: All parties to this space acquisition policy must exercise the discipline necessary to achieve its goals without allowing its procedures to become unnecessarily burdensome and/or time consuming.

h.) Credible: The NSS team must deliver what it promises on schedule and within budget. The NSS process is meant to incentivize and foster quality decision making for programs that exhibit the necessary maturity to proceed into the next acquisition phase.

i.) Cost Realism: The goal is to develop and grow a world-class national security space cost estimating capability. Cost estimates must be independent and accomplished in a timely, realistic, and complete manner. Cost will be controlled by estimating accurately and focusing on quality to reduce rework and achieve mission success. All members of the NSS acquisition execution chain must insist on, and protect, a realistic management reserve.


The acquisition of DoD space systems results from the interaction of three complementary processes: the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System under the authority of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution process under the authority of the DoD Comptroller; and the NSS acquisition process under the authority of the DoD Space MDA. To work effectively, the acquisition process requires constant coordination among these processes and their authorities.

5.1 Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS)

The JCIDS process identifies, develops, and validates all defense-related capability needs. (For the IC, the Mission Requirements Board (MRB) defines and prioritizes future national foreign intelligence needs within substantive mission areas and drives those needs into intelligence planning, resource, and large system acquisition decisions.) CJCSI 3170.01D describes the JCIDS process and serves as the governing capability needs process document for this NSS policy. A disciplined capability needs process is key to achieving effective and timely acquisitions within expected budgets. Users and operators are responsible for comprehensive, clear, and timely identification of capability needs through the JCIDS process. Space system SPDs/PMs are responsible for supporting the JCIDS process by providing users and operators with timely, credible programmatic implications (cost, schedule, and risk) of meeting operational capability needs. SPDs/PMs should work closely with the users and operators to support the development of the Key Performance Parameters. This will allow the users and operators to make informed decisions. Within the DoD, the capability needs validation authority and acquisition authority are separate.

5.2 Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution Process (PPBE)

The PPBE process translates military capability needs into budgetary requirements, which are presented to Congress for funding consideration. Each of the functions of the PPBE operates on a near-continuous basis throughout the fiscal year. Within the DoD, the budget authority and the acquisition decision authority are separate.

5.3 National Security Space (NSS) Acquisition Process

The NSS model emphasizes the decision needs for “high-tech” small quantity NSS programs, versus the DoD 5000 model that is typically focused on making the best large quantity production decision.
The funding profile for a typical NSS program is usually front-loaded when compared to a productionfocused system. This requires the key decisions for a NSS program to be phased earlier than the
typical DoD 5000 milestone decisions.


AP2.1.4 DoD Space MDA Initial Activities

Immediately after receipt of the DAB Request Letter, the DoD Space MDA will inform the DAB Executive Secretary of the request to initiate the formal DAB process, providing initial guidance for the preparation and conduct of the IPA and DAB.

AP2.1.5 DAB Executive Secretary Initial Activities

Upon notification by the DoD Space MDA of the DAB request, the DAB Executive Secretary will begin the process of assisting the DoD Space MDA with the nomination of potential IPAT leaders. The DAB Executive Secretary will also notify the Chairman of OSD CAIG, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), Assistant Secretary of Defense (Network and Information Integration) (ASD(NII)), the Services, and those OSD, Joint Staff, and other entities who have an interest in the program under consideration of the pending DAB. The National Security Agency (NSA) / Information Assurance Directorate (IAD) will be notified on communication programs. Once notified by the DoD Space MDA who the IPAT and ICAT leaders will be, the DAB Executive Secretary will establish and announce the date for the DAB Planning Meeting. The IPAT leader is accountable to the MDA. The IPAT leader will conduct the review and advise the MDA whether the program is ready to move into the next phase.

AP2.1.6 DAB Planning Meeting

Just prior to the DAB Planning Meeting, the DAB Executive Secretary, IPAT Leader, and ICAT leader will meet with the DoD Space MDA to receive guidance for the IPA activity. The DAB Executive Secretary will document the guidance (issues, concerns, and strategies) provided by the DoD Space MDA to the IPAT and ICAT leaders. The DAB Planning Meeting will typically be called within 10 calendar days of receipt of a formal DAB written request from the PEO. The purpose of this meeting is to tailor the review requirements by going through the IPS, IPA, and independent cost analysis items identified in AP2, AP3, E1, and E4. The DAB Executive Secretary, SPD/PM, IPA and ICAT leads, along with representatives from ASD(NII), DOT&E, J-8 and NSSO will discuss DoD Space MDA issues, concerns, and strategies; review required documents; and discuss recommendations to streamline the process based on each individual program’s unique qualities. The DAB Executive Secretary will notify the MDA of any streamlining recommendations or disconnects (e.g., entering the acquisition process at MS-B or C, any differences between the acquisition strategy and the nominal schedules in this policy, etc.). Tentative dates for the independent cost analysis start, IPA Readiness Review meeting, actual IPA start, and DAB will be set at this meeting. The DAB Executive Secretary will task the meeting attendees to accomplish the actions identified in the appropriate portion of the E1 in time for the IPA Readiness Review meeting. During the meeting the DAB Executive Secretary will also request nominations for IPAT members. The DAB Executive Secretary will notify the OSD staff elements of the request for nominations to ensure all stakeholders are notified.


AP3.0 Purpose

This section of the DoD Space MDA NSS acquisition policy is issued pursuant to 10 USC 2434, as amended, and other applicable law. This appendix prescribes a uniform policy for implementation of the independent cost analysis activity in support of the DoD Space MDA’s goal of acquiring NSS systems using a fast-paced, streamlined management process. An independent cost analysis is an analysis of program cost prepared by an office or other entity not directly responsible for carrying out the development or acquisition of the program. There are two forms of independent cost analyses:

a) Independent Cost Estimate (ICE): A comprehensive estimate of the cost of a program prepared by an office or other entity that is not directly responsible for carrying out the development or acquisition of the program. An ICE includes all elements of cost that must be considered when deciding whether to proceed with the development, production, and operation of the system; is neither optimistic nor pessimistic; and is based on a careful assessment of program risks. It serves as a realistic budget estimate, reflecting a complete appraisal of the level of cost most likely to be realized over the life cycle of the program. An ICE is required for programs meeting MS-B & MS-C and Build Approval reviews.

b) Independent Cost Assessment (ICA): An analysis of program cost that is not as rigorous or reliable as an Independent Cost Estimate (ICE), but serves as a reasonable cost and budget realism check. Typically an ICA would be required for a program meeting a MS-A DAB.

AP3.1 Objectives

The independent cost analysis activity described in this appendix will:

a) Establish sound, consistent cost estimating and analysis policies for the DoD Space MDA with a long-term objective to develop a cost estimating process and organizational structure that fosters the development of unbiased, consistent, objective cost estimates;

b) Build and maintain a world-class capability within the government for space and space-related weapon systems cost estimating;

c) Establish the Office of the Secretary of Defense Cost Analysis Improvement Group (OSD CAIG) as the responsible agent for the independent cost analysis activity for DoD Space MDAPs;

d) Provide SPDs/PMs with guidance as to when an independent cost analysis is required, how to obtain an independent cost analysis, and what program office activities are required to support the independent cost analysis;

e) Set standards and guidelines for use of ICAT resources;

f) Ensure consistency with acquisition reform initiatives;

g) Define the interaction between the IPA and independent cost analysis processes;

h) Foster synergy and efficiency of DoD cost estimating resources and research activities by encouraging cooperation and joint use of resources in cost research, cost database development
and maintenance, and cost model development and maintenance.

Share this: