Major Capability Acquisition (MCA)

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Cost Analysis Requirements Description (CARD)

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Each page in this pathway presents a wealth of curated knowledge from acquisition policies, guides, templates, training, reports, websites, case studies, and other resources. It also provides a framework for functional experts and practitioners across DoD to contribute to the collective knowledge base. This site aggregates official DoD policies, guides, references, and more.

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Reference Source: DAG CH 2-3.5 Cost Analysis Requirements Description

The Cost Analysis Requirements Description (CARD) is a complete, detailed description of a DoD program for use in preparing an ICE, POE, CCE, CCP, or other cost estimate, as required. The CARD is completed by the program office staff as they should have the most in-depth knowledge and understanding of the program details.

The foundation of a sound cost estimate is a well-defined program, and the CARD is used to articulate details about the program. The primary objective of the CARD is to succinctly describe the key technical, programmatic, operational, and sustainment characteristics of a program, along with supporting data sources, and to provide all of the program information necessary to develop a cost estimate. By using the CARD, different organizations preparing cost estimates can develop their estimates based on the same understanding of program requirements. As a program evolves and its costs and funding needs change, the CARD, as a living document, evolves with it.

The secondary objective of the CARD is to collect in-depth technical data to allow for validation or updating of cost estimating relationships (CERs) and the development of new CERs. Though not required for completion of estimates, this information, particularly for systems whose designs have matured to the point of deployment, is of great value to the entire acquisition community in ensuring high quality estimates in the future.

The CARD is composed of a narrative and a workbook. Requirements for the narrative, as well as template workbooks for each commodity, are available electronically at