Acquisition Life Cycle The management framework for
Defense systems acquisition is commonly referred to as the acquisition life
cycle. The generic model for this process is illustrated in Figure 7-1.
Program managers tailor/streamline this model to the maximum extent possible,
consistent with technical risk, to provide new systems to the warfighter as
fast as possible. The process illustrated in Figure 7-1 provides for multiple
entry points consistent with a program's technical maturity, validated
requirements and funding. Entrance criteria for each phase of the life cycle
guide the milestone decision authority in determining the appropriate point
for a program to enter the acquisition process.
The life cycle process consists of periods of time called phases, each consisting of two work efforts, separated by decision points called milestones, decision reviews, or interim decision reviews. These decision points provide both the program manager and milestone decision authorities the framework with which to review acquisition programs, monitor and administer progress, identify problems, and make corrections. The milestone decision authority will approve entrance into the appropriate phase of the acquisition process, or passage from one work effort to the next, by signing an acquisition decision memorandum upon completion of a successful review.
The life cycle of a program begins with planning to
satisfy a mission need before the program officially begins (see Chapter 6). Program
initiation normally occurs at Milestone
B . The life cycle process takes the program through research, development, production, deployment, support, upgrade, and finally, demilitarization and disposal. Initial Operational Capability, or IOC,
is that point at which a selected number of operational forces have received
the new system and are capable of conducting and supporting warfighting
operations. Refer-ences to "life cycle costs" in Defense acquisition, include
all costs associated with the system, literally from "cradle to