The determination of mission needs is based on mission area analysis (MAA) and mission need analysis (MNA). This is a continuing process of assessing the capabilities of the current force structure (people and materiel) to meet the projected threat, while taking into account opportunities for technological advancement, cost savings, and changes in national policy or doctrine. Mission areas are broad categories of warfighting responsibility, such as fire support for the Army, amphibious warfare for the Marine Corps, air support and interdiction for the Air Force, and strategic sealift/protection for the Navy. MAAs and MNAs are conducted by the Training and Doctrine Command in the Army, the Center for Naval Analysis and/or the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations staff in the Navy, the Marine Corps Combat Developments Command in the Marine Corps, and the operational commands (e.g., Air Combat Command or Air Mobility Command) in the Air Force.
Once identified, deficiencies (i.e., mismatches between current and projected capabilities and the future threat) need to be resolved. First considered are changes in doctrine, tactics, training, organizational structure. These alternatives, often called "nonmateriel alternatives," are investigated first because of their relatively low cost and ease (i.e., speed) of implementation. Should nonmateriel alternatives prove incapable of resolving the deficiency, we are forced to look for materiel solutions. The requirement for a materiel solution is documented in a MNS.
MNSs are written for all mission needs that may result
in acquisition programs, regardless of acquisition category, and are prepared
in accordance with guidance contained in CJCSI 3170.01A. MNSs are not written
for mission needs that can be resolved by nonmateriel solutions. Figure 6-1
illustrates the process for determining mission needs.
Since a MNS describes a warfighting deficiency or technological opportunity, descriptions of specific performance characteristics or specific system solutions are not appropriate. A requirements valida-tion authority reviews, validates, and approves the MNS. Validation confirms that the need exists and cannot be resolved by a nonmateriel solution. Approval represents sanction of the need and certifies it has been subject to the process contained in CJCSI 3170.01A and DoDI 5000.2. The validation authority also determines joint service potential, and then forwards the approved MNS to the appropriate milestone decision authority for a Milestone A review. Disapproved MNS are returned to the originator, who notifies the user.
The Joint Requirements Oversight Council is the
validation and approval authority for MNSs with the potential for an ACAT I or
ACAT IA program. Once this council validates and approves a MNS it is sent to
the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics) or the
Assistant Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications and
Intelligence) for a Milestone A decision. For potential nonmajor programs, the
chiefs of the military services, heads of Defense agencies, and
commanders-in-chief of unified commands validate and approve their own MNSs.
Each MNS that could result in a nonmajor program is sent to the respective
Component Acquisition Executive, or Chief Information Officer as appropriate,
for a Milestone A decision.