The Defense integrated product team (IPT) concept was adapted from
commercial business to streamline an antiquated, inefficient process. Before
integrated product teams, program offices frequently produced a product that,
when reviewed at higher levels, was modified substantially or even rejected.
These teams are composed of representatives from all appropriate functional
disciplines working together to build successful programs thereby enabling
decision makers to make the right decisions at the appropriate time. Each IPT
operates under the following broad principles:
- Open discussions with no secrets;
- Qualified, empowered team members;
- Consistent, success-oriented, proactive participation;
- Continuous "up-the-line" communications;
- Reasoned disagreement; and
- Issues raised and resolved early.
For ACAT ID and ACAT IAM programs, there are generally two levels of IPTs
above the program office - an Overarching Integrated Product Team
(OIPT) at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and Working-Level
IPTs (WIPT) at the headquarters of the military department. The following
paragraphs discuss the roles and responsibilities of these IPTs in the Defense
Overarching Integrated Product Teams: Each ACAT ID
program is assigned to an OIPT for management oversight. The primary role of
this team is to provide strategic guidance and to help resolve issues early as
a program proceeds through its acquisition life cycle. OIPTs for weapons
systems are headed by the DoD Director, Strategic and Tactical Systems. OIPTs
for C3I systems are headed by the Director, Program Analysis and Integration,
office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Computers and
Intelligence)(OASD (C3I)). Each ACAT IAM program is assigned to an Information
Technology OIPT headed by the Director, Performance Assessment, OASD(C3I).
OIPT members include the program manager, the program executive officer,
component staff, USD(AT&L) staff, the Joint Staff, and other Defense staff
principals, or their representatives, involved in oversight and review of a
particular ACAT ID or ACAT IAM program. OIPTs meet as required and convene in
formal session two weeks in advance of an anticipated milestone decision to
assess information and to provide the status of the program to the milestone
Working Level Integrated Product Teams: The WIPTs
are formed at the Pentagon-level military department headquarters. They meet
as required to help the program manager plan program structure and
documentation and resolve issues. The leader of each WIPT is usually the
program manager or the program manager's representative. While there is no
one-size-fits-all approach, there are three basic tenets to which WIPTs must
- The program manager is in charge of the program.
- Integrated product teams are advisory bodies to the program
- Direct communication between the program office and all levels in the
acquisition oversight and review process is expected as a means of
exchanging information and building trust.
The program manager, or designee, may form and lead a type of WIPT called
an Integrating IPT (IIPT) composed of a member from each of the other WIPTs.
This team supports the development of strategies for acquisition and
contracts, cost estimates, evaluation of alternatives, logistics management,
cost-performance trade-offs, etc. The IIPT also coordinates the activities of
the other WIPTs and ensures that issues not formally addressed by those teams
The following examples of WIPTs are offered as illustrations: Test
Strategy Integrated Product Team: The purpose of this IPT is to assist in
outlining the Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP) for a major program. The
objective of such an IPT is to reach agree-ment on the strategy and plan by
identifying and resolving issues early, understanding the issues and the
rationale for the approach, and, finally, documenting a quality TEMP that is
acceptable to all organizational levels the first time.
Cost/Performance Integrated Product Team: The best
time to reduce life-cycle costs is early in the acquisition process. Cost
reductions must be accomplished through cost/performance tradeoff analyses,
conducted before an acquisition approach is finalized. To facilitate that
process, each ACAT I and ACAT IA must establish a Cost/Performance IPT(CPIPT).
The user community must have representa-tion on this team. Industry
representation, consistent with statute and at the appropriate time, must also