Major Capability Acquisition (MCA)

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Independent Technical Risk Assessment (ITRA)

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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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Directly quoted material is preceeded with a link to the Reference Source.



Reference Source: DODI 5000.88 Section 3.5


  • Provide a view of program technical risk, independent of the program and the chain of command leading to the MDA.
  • Are conducted on all MDAPs before approval of Milestone A, Milestone B, and any decision to enter into low rate initial production or full-rate production.
  • Pursuant to Section 2448b of Title 10, U.S.C., are required for programs either initiated or having a Milestone A after October 1, 2017. For programs initiated or having a Milestone A before October 1, 2017, ITRAs are regulatory and may be waived at the discretion of the USD(R&E). Formal requests will provide appropriate justification and will be submitted through the MDA.
  • Consider the full spectrum of technology, engineering, and integration risk. These areas could include mission capability, technology, system development, MOSA, software, security, manufacturing, sustainment, and their potential impacts to cost, schedule, and performance. For ITRAs conducted before Milestone A, identifies critical technologies and manufacturing processes that need to be matured. Subsequent ITRAs will re-assess technology and manufacturing process maturity, accounting for demonstrations in relevant environments.


Are conducted and approved by the USD(R&E) on all ACAT ID programs. The USD(R&E) will determine ITRA approval authority for ACAT IB/IC programs, providing periodic written notification, based on the following criteria:

  • Significant or strategic joint mission integration and interoperability requirements.
  • Significant contribution to one or multiple national defense strategy or OUSD(R&E) modernization roadmaps.
  • Demonstrated program poor performance such as a Nunn-McCurdy breach or program restructure.
  • Criticality to a major interagency requirement or technology development effort, or having significant international partner involvement.
  • Congressional or special interest due to scope, complexity, or other issues.
  • As determined by the USD(R&E), are conducted on special access programs that exceed MDAP dollar thresholds and programs designated by an MDA as ACAT I special interest programs. ITRAs for special access programs will be coordinated through the DoD Special Access Program Central Office in accordance with DoDD 5135.02 and comply with DoDD 5205.07 and DoDI 5205.11.

Facilitate the MDA’s establishment of program cost, schedule, and performance goals pursuant to Section 2448a of Title 10, U.S.C.

  • Support MDA determinations, certifications, and reporting to Congress. Consistent with Sections 2448b, 2366a, and 2366b of Title 10, U.S.C., MDAs will consider the results of the ITRA before approving milestone or production decisions for an MDAP.
  • DoD Components will conduct ACAT IB/IC ITRAs. Approval will be consistent with Paragraph 3.5.b.(1)(e). The approval authority must be independent and may not be in the program’s chain of command. ITRAs are not required for non-MDAP programs, but if conducted, will follow the OUSD(R&E)-published ITRA policy and guidance. ITRAs will be conducted in accordance with DoD ITRA guidance and the DoD ITRA Framework for Risk Categorization both developed and maintained by OUSD(R&E).
  • The organization conducting the ITRA designates a lead, who will form a team composed of technical experts with in-depth domain knowledge of technical considerations associated with the program under assessment. Team members should be independent from the program office and the direct chain of command between the program office and MDA.


The ITRA team:

  • Should engage as early as possible in the program lifecycle to maximize program understanding and facilitate engagement in ongoing program activities with the goal of minimizing program impact.
  • Leverages existing program information, modeling, simulation results, analysis results, prototyping activities, test and evaluation reports, artifacts (digital and non-digital), and any other information, in native format, deemed appropriate.


The ITRA team lead:

  • Reviews findings and risks with the PM as early as possible to allow for mitigation activities deemed appropriate by the PM.
  • Should prepare a final assessment in time to support approval not later than 30 days before the Milestone or production decision.


Consistent with Sections 2366a(c)(2), 2366b(c)(3), and 2366c(b) of Title 10, U.S.C., organizations conducting and approving ITRAs will retain the underlying documentation and analysis supporting the assessment of risks, findings, and assertions for congressional committee inquiry. For programs for which an ITRA is conducted, a technology readiness assessment report is not required. Programs will continue to assess and document the technology maturity of all critical technologies consistent with the technology readiness assessment guidance. ITRA teams may leverage technology maturation activities and receive access to results in order to perform independent technical reviews and assessments.


The designated DoD Component, agency, or PM will:

  • Support ITRA execution, to include providing access to programmatic and technical information and facilitating ITRA team visits to the program office, product centers, test centers, and contractor(s).
  • Provide OUSD(R&E) advanced notice of milestone or production decision dates for programs requiring an ITRA, to include special interest or special access programs, to facilitate timely execution and determination of OUSD(R&E) roles. Initial notification should occur as soon as practicable, with a goal of 18 months before the milestone or production decision or 9 months before RFP release, whichever is earlier.
  • Assess and document the technology maturity of all potential critical technologies and provide the results for independent review and assessment by the ITRA team.
  • Provide OUSD(R&E) with copies of approved ITRA reports including substantiating documentation and analysis needed to support assessment of risks, findings, and assertions in accordance with the requirements of Sections 2366a(c)(2), 2366b(c)(3), and 2366c(b) of Title 10, U.S.C.


Additional Assessments.

  • OUSD(R&E) may also conduct non-advocate reviews, or focused technical assessments on any program, or may conduct an out of cycle assessment, at the request of senior leadership in OSD or the Military Services.
  • PMs and program executive officers may also request an assessment through OUSD(R&E). These requests will be made to and approved by the USD(R&E). While some of these assessments may be highly tailorable, the assessment team will work with the PMs and program executive officers in an attempt to utilize ITRA methods and practices when practicable.