||MIL-HDBK-470A: Designing and Developing Maintainable Products and Systems
SECTION A - ACQUISITION GUIDANCE
Scope. This Appendix is an essential part of MIL-HDBK-470A. The information contained herein is intended for reference only. This Appendix is for guidance only and cannot be cited as a requirement. If it is, the contractor does not have to comply.
Defense Acquisition Reform
Actions taken by the Secretary of Defense starting in 1994 significantly changed the way that the Department of Defense (DoD) and military departments contract for products.
1. Background. On June 29, 1994, Secretary of Defense William Perry issued a five-page memorandum, "Specifications & Standards -A New Way of Doing Business." The intent of the memorandum can be summarized as three "overarching" objectives:
- Establish a performance-oriented solicitation process
- Implement a document improvement process
- Create irreversible cultural change in the way DoD does business
The DoD is working to streamline the way in which procurement is managed and to adopt commercial practices whenever possible. It is reassessing and trying to improve the way it does business to decrease costs and increase customer satisfaction.
2. Specifications and Standards. Many months prior to the Perry memorandum of 29 June, a Process Action Team (PAT), chartered by Colleen Preston, Deputy Under Secretary for Acquisition Reform, and chaired by Darold Griffin, was tasked to review the system of military standardization documents and develop recommendations to:
- eliminate unnecessary and obsolete specifications and standards
- use performance specifications and standards
- use commercial standards and specifications to the greatest extent practicable
- encourage industry to propose alternative solutions to military specifications and standards
- and reduce paperwork
The preparing activities of military standardization documents have reviewed and will continue to review their documents and recommend disposition to the Secretary. The possible recommendations for disposition of a military specification or standard are:
- Retain as performance-based document (some revision may be necessary)
- Retain as interface standard
- Retain as test method standard
- Convert to handbook
- Inactivate for new design (reprocurement only)
- Delete in favor of a commercial item description
- Delete in favor of a non-government standard
As is explained in sections 4a and 4b of this Appendix, military standards and specifications may be cited for guidance in a Department of Defense solicitation but may not be cited as requirements unless a waiver is granted. Commercial standards may be cited for guidance. Although not specifically prohibited by policy at the time this handbook was written, commercial standards should not be mandated as requirements. Given the spirit of the new acquisition policy, mandating a commercial standard is no different than mandating a military standard. In either case, the procuring agency would be telling the bidding contractors what to do and how to do it, at least to the extent that the cited standard provides suggestions on the tasks and activities needed for maintainability. The main objective of the new policy is to use performance specifications. Only when performance specifications are inadequate for fully describing what the Government wants should commercial specifications and standards be considered. And only when commercial specifications and standards are inadequate should a waiver (see Section 4 for an explanation of which military documents require a waiver) to use a military specification or standard be considered.
3. Performance-based Specifications
a. A performance specification states requirements in terms of the required results and provides criteria for verifying whether or not the requirements have been met. Performance specifications do not state the methods for achieving the required results. They have the following characteristics:
(1) Requirements should be stated quantitatively
(2) Requirements should be verifiable
(3) Interfaces should be stated in sufficient detail to allow interchangeability with parts of a different design.
(4) Requirements should be material and process independent
b. There are four types of performance specifications: commercial item descriptions (CIDs), guide specifications (GSs), standard performance specifications (SPSs), and program-unique specifications.
(1) Commercial Item Descriptions. An indexed, simplified product description prepared by the Government that describes, by performance characteristics, an available, acceptable commercial product that will satisfy the Government's needs. Guidance for CIDs is given in the General Services Administration Federal Standardization Manual (Chapter 6), in the Defense Standardization Manual, DoD 4120.3-M, and in DoD 5000.37-H. By definition, CIDs are used only to describe requirements in terms of function, performance, and essential form and fit requirements. CIDs are listed in the DoD Index of Specifications and Standards (DoDISS).
(2) Guide Specifications. Guide specifications identify standard, recurring requirements that are common for like systems, subsystems, equipments, and assemblies. The format of a GS forces the user to tailor the document to the specific application. Guidance for GSs is in DoD 4120.3-M. GSs are listed in the DoD Index of Specifications and Standards (DoDISS).
(3) Standard Performance Specifications. A specification that establishes requirements for military-unique items used in multiple programs or applications. MIL-STD-961 includes guidance on the format and content of SPSs.
(4) Program-Unique Specifications. This type of specification, also called a system specification, establishes requirements for items used for a particular program or
weapon system. Little potential exists for using these specifications in other programs or applications. They should be performance-based but may include a blend of performance and detail design requirements. They are restricted to items for which the preceding categories of performance specifications are not applicable.
c. Performance specifications are also categorized by the type of item being acquired. Those used to acquire materials are called material specifications, to acquire components are called component specifications, and to acquire systems are called system specifications. The Department of Defense has issued a guide to performance specifications, SD-15. Issued under the Defense Standardization Program, the guide covers the writing of performance requirements, standard performance specifications, guide specifications, and program-unique specifications. The preceding discussions under 3.a and 3.b are based on SD-15.
4. Other Standardization Documents.
a. Standards. There are four types of standards: interface, test method, manufacturing process, and practices.
(1) Interface Standards. An interface standard is one that specifies the physical or functional interface characteristics of systems, subsystems, equipments, assemblies, components, items, or parts to permit interchangeability, compatibility, or communications. Waivers are not required to use military interface standards as requirements in Department of Defense solicitations.
(2) Test Method Standard. A test method standard is one that specifies procedures or criteria for measuring, identifying, or evaluating qualities, characteristics, and
properties of a product or process. Military test method standards may not be cited as requirements in a Department of Defense solicitation unless a waiver is granted.
(3) Manufacturing Process Standard. This type of standard states the desired outcome of manufacturing processes or specifies procedures or criteria on how to perform manufacturing processes. Military manufacturing process standards may not be cited as requirements in a Department of Defense solicitation unless a waiver is granted.
(4) Standard Practice Standard. A standard practice standard is one that specifies procedures on how to conduct certain functions or operations. These procedures are not related to manufacturing processes. It has not yet been decided if standard practice standards may be cited as requirements in a Department of Defense solicitation without a waiver.
b. Handbooks. A handbook is a guidance document that provides engineering or technical information, lessons learned, possible options to resolve technical issues, classification of similar items, interpretive direction and techniques, and other types of guidance or information. The purpose is to help the customer or the seller to design, construct, select, manage, support, or operate systems, products, processes, or services. Military handbooks may not be cited as a requirement in a Department of Defense solicitation, contract, specification, standard, drawing, or any other document.
5. Overall Acquisition Policy and Procedures. The primary documents governing defense acquisition are DoD Directive 5000.1 and DoD Regulation 5000.2-R. Both documents were revised as a result of Defense Acquisition Reform. A third document, DoD 5000.2-M has been canceled. The revisions to 5000.1 and 5000.2-R (previously a DoD Instruction) incorporate new laws and policies, separate mandatory policies and procedures from discretionary practices, and integrate acquisition policies and procedures for weapon systems and automated information systems. In addition to the two documents, an Acquisition Deskbook is available to DoD procuring activities. The Deskbook is an automated repository of information consisting of a Desk Reference Set, a Tool Catalog, and a forum for information exchange. The Reference Set consists of mandatory Guiding Principles, discretionary Institutionalized Knowledge, and Sage Information (expert wisdom and lessons learned). Information about the Acquisition Deskbook can be obtained using the Internet: <http://web1.deskbook.osd.mil/default.asp>
The major themes of the new acquisition documents are teamwork, tailoring, empowerment, cost, commercial products, and best practices. In summary, (1) acquisition should be a team effort among all concerned in the process, (2) the acquisition approach for a specific system should be tailored based on risk and complexity, (3) acquisition will be conducted with a customer focus, (4) cost will be an independent variable in programmatic decisions, (5) commercial products should be used when practical, and (6) acquisition is now more closely modeled on best commercial business practices.
The guiding principles of DoDD 5000.1 that are based on these themes are:
1. Translate Operational Needs into Stable, Affordable Programs
- Program stability
- Risk assessment and management
- Total systems acquisition
- Cost as an independent variable
- Program objectives and thresholds
2. Acquire Quality Products
- Event-oriented management
- Hierarchy of material alternatives
- Communication with users
- Test and evaluation
- Independent assessments
3. Organize for Efficiency and Effectiveness
- Acquisition corps
- Limited reporting requirements
- Automated acquisition information
DoD 5000.2-R also redefines the life cycle phases of a
product. These phases do not necessarily occur in strictly a serial manner but
may overlap. Preceding each phase is a decision milestone. Decision milestones
are points in time when a decision is made to either enter the next phase or
to stop the acquisition. These decisions are made on the basis of criteria
defined in DoD 5000.2-R. The criteria for leaving one phase and being
considered for continuation into the next phase are called exit criteria. An acquisition begins with the determination of a valid customer need.
A summary of the phases of acquisition as defined by DoD 5000.2-R are:
- Phase 0 : Concept Exploration - Conduct competitive, parallel short-term studies to define and evaluate feasibility of alternative concepts and provide a basis for evaluating the relative merits of these alternatives at the next decision milestone
- Phase I : Program Definition and Risk Reduction - Define the program as one or more concepts, and pursue design approaches and technologies as warranted. Perform risk reduction activities including prototyping, demonstrations, and early operational assessments as appropriate
- Phase II : Engineering and Manufacturing Development -Translate the most promising design approach into stable, producible, supportable, and cost effective design; establish and validate a manufacturing capability; and demonstrate system capabilities through testing.
- Phase III : Production Fielding/Deployment and Operational Support - Produce systems (except software-intensive systems having no hardware components or those in ACAT 1A1), conduct perational test and demonstrations, provide operational support, and incorporate modifications as needed.
Although not referred to specifically as a phase, Demilitarization and Disposal is described by DoD 5000.2-R as those activities conducted at the end of a system's useful life. See Appendix E of MIL-HDBK-470A for a discussion of maintainability activities by phase.
6. Acquiring Maintainable Systems. Acquiring a maintainable product requires that certain key issues be addressed and that a sound solicitation package be developed. As has been stated previously, the solicitation must clearly define the maintainability requirements and provide sufficient information that suppliers responding to the solicitation can develop cost-effective, innovative approaches for meeting customer needs.
a. Key Issues. For any product, the key maintainability issues, from the customer's perspective, are:
- What measures of operational2 maintainability are important to me?
- What realistic levels of operational maintainability are required?
- Have the required levels of operational maintainability been achieved?
From the seller's perspective, the issues are:
- How and when can the achievable levels of operational maintainability for a new product under development for the customer be assessed for realism (neither too optimistic nor too conservative given the nature of the development effort)?
- How can the customer's operational maintainability requirements be "translated" into design rules and requirements (i.e., design maintainability)?
- What design approaches and analysis tools will help achieve the levels of maintainability required in the expected environment?
- How can progress toward meeting the required levels of design maintainability be measured?
- How and when can the achieved levels of design maintainability be demonstrated or determined?
- How can the design maintainability be retained during manufacturing?
In a purely commercial world, particularly when the customer is the average consumer, the customer is not usually concerned with the second set of issues - they are left to the seller to confront. If the seller does a poor job, the customer will go elsewhere for the product. Thus, competition in the marketplace provides a strong incentive to "do it right." In the defense world, the level of competition is often much lower than in the commercial world. If dictated by the nature of the product(e.g., used only by the military), the risks (e.g., very high with unproved technologies being used), and the type of acquisition (e.g., totally new development), it will be necessary for the Government customer to take more of an active role in addressing the second set of issues. (Some industrial customers also may be involved with the second set of issues, especially those dealing with measuring
progress and determining the achieved level of design maintainability.) The form that this role takes, however, has changed.
Previously, by imposing standards and specifications, the military customer could force contractors to use certain analytical tools and methods, perform certain tests in a prescribed manner, use parts from an approved list, and so forth. As has already been discussed, the memorandum issued on 29 June 1994 by Secretary of Defense Perry primarily requires that military agencies develop and use performance-based specifications in solicitations. It permits the imposition of military standards and specifications as requirements only when performance specifications are inadequate and no commercial specifications and standards are suitable. Even then, military specifications and standards can be imposed only with a "blanket" waiver or the approval of the acquisition authority.
In any case, the objective under Defense Acquisition Reform is not to tell contractors how best to design and manufacture a product. The responsibility for making such decisions has shifted from the Government to the contractor. None-the-less, military customers are still more likely to be aware of the second set of issues than are commercial customers. Consequently, specifications issued by the Government will probably continue to be more detailed than those issued by commercial organizations. Of course, the procurement of commercial items or non-developmental items (NDI)3 provides the best opportunity to adopt a commercial approach to acquisition.
b. The Solicitation. It is through the solicitation that a customer describes a needed product and solicits bids from competing sources to develop the product. Typically, a Government solicitation consists of the sections shown in Figure A-1.
Figure A-1 - Sections of a Governement Solicitation or Contract
PART I. THE SCHEDULE
A. Solicitation/Contract Form
B. Supplies or Services and Prices/Costs
C. Description/Specification/Work Statement
D. Packaging and Marking
E. Inspection and Acceptance
F. Deliveries or Performance
G. Contract Administration Data
PART II. THE SCHEDULE
PART III. LIST OF
DOCUMENTS, EXHIBITS, AND OTHER ATTACHMENT
PART IV. REPRESENTATIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS
(Solicitations and RFPs only)
K. Representations, Certifications, and Other Statements of Offerors
L. Instructions, Conditions, and Notices to Offerors
CONTRACT ATTACHMENTS (e.g., SOW or SOO)
CONTRACT EXHIBITS (e.g.,
Of most interest to the maintainability engineer are the specification,
Section L, and the statement of objectives (SOO) or statement of work (SOW).
(Note: Military solicitations must be issued in accordance with the Federal
(1) Section L provides instructions
to the offerors and can be used to explain the information the offeror is
expected to provide regarding how maintainability will be addressed in the
program, should a contract be offered.
(2) As already discussed, the
specification should be a performance specification, one that states
requirements in terms of the required results with criteria for verifying
compliance but does not state the methods for achieving the required
Traditionally, a military or
commercial acquisition has only one specification. Some companies, however,
have adopted a new approach to specifications. They issue an initial
specification and then work with each prospective bidder to develop a
specification unique to that bidder. In that way, multiple specifications
are developed. The specifications reflect the technical capability of each
bidder, and one bidder's specification may be more demanding than others,
although all must meet the customer's needs. The bidder whose specification
and price represents a best-value is awarded the contract.
In some cases, the customer does not
provide a specification. For example, the general public does not provide
automobile manufacturers with specifications for a vehicle. Instead, the
automobile manufacturers must develop their own specifications based on such
state, and other Government laws and regulations
- benchmarking of competitors'
- market surveys and opinion
(3) The SOW normally includes
constraints, assumptions, and other criteria that the bidders must consider
in developing and manufacturing the product. For example, the customer
should identify how the product will be used (operating concept) and
supported (support concept). In a military procurement, such information
could be included in Sections L and M of the solicitation. (See
MIL-HDBK-245D for instructions on the preparation of a Statement of
The SOW may also include specific
activities or tasks required by the customer. In the past, the SOW included
with a military solicitation almost always identified specific tasks, such
as "perform a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis." As stated earlier, the
approach under Defense Acquisition Reform is to allow the bidders to
identify planned activities and to explain why, how, and when these
activities will be performed. Commercial customers seldom specify specific
tasks but are, of course, free to do so.
Instead of the traditional SOW, some
procuring agencies use a statement of objective (SOO). Considered more in
keeping with the spirit of acquisition reform, the SOO is concise and
written to allow the contractor as much flexibility as possible in
responding to the solicitation. A typical SOO has five sections: Objective
of the Program (Solicitation), Objective (Purpose) of the Contract, Scope of
the Contract, Work to be Accomplished Under the Contract, and Program
Control. The SOO is included as an attachment to a Request for Proposal
(RFP), typically appended to Section L. Normally, the Government will ask
offerors in response to the SOO to prepare and provide a SOW in their
proposals. Specific efforts defined in an offerors SOW shall be traceable to
the SOO. An example of how a SOO might be worded is shown in Figure A-2.
Note that the SOO may not discuss specific disciplines. So it is
especially incumbent upon the Government to ensure that maintainability
is addressed in the specification.
Figure A-2 - Example wording for a Statement of Objectives
Statement of Objectives
1.0 Program Objective
a. The program is: (here the customer defines the program as: (1) multi-phased, (2) single-phase, or (c) one program with multiple contractors)
b. The objective of the program is to design, test, and manufacture [*] to satisfy the performance requirements of the specification to meet a need date of [date].
2.0 Contract Objectives. The contractor shall meet the following objectives.
2.1 Design, Analysis, and Test.
Design the [*] to satisfy the user's performance requirements as defined in [cite applicable section of RFP]. Perform such analysis and tests necessary to design the [*], to reduce risk, and to verify that the product meets the user's performance requirements.
2.2 Configuration Management
Establish a product baseline to define the configuration of the [*] with a verified capability to satisfy the user's performance requirements. Establish and maintain a management process to thereafter control the product's configuration for the life of the contract. Document the design of the product baseline through the use of engineering data.
2.3 Quality Control
Institute a quality program to ensure the [*] is produced in accordance with engineering data, measuring and test equipment are properly maintained, and that appropriate actions are taken for nonconforming materials.
Develop and deliver all data necessary to support the [*] (including provisioning, installation, and reprocurement data and operating and repair manuals) consistent with the maintenance concept as stated in [cite applicable section of RFP]. All data shall be in a form and format compatible with existing Government data systems.
*Name of the product
In the section immediately following, guidance is given for preparing the maintainability portion of a solicitation. This guidance is consistent with the policies established by the Perry memorandum. In the final section of this appendix, guidance is provided for selecting a contractor on the basis of the maintainability portion of submitted proposals.
1Acquisition Category 1A , Major Automated Information System Acquisition Programs.
2Section 2.1 of this handbook explains the differences between operational and design maintainability.
3Publication SD-2, Buying NDI, issued in April 1996 by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Production and Logistics, defines commercial item and NDI.