Major Capability Acquisition (MCA)

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Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) and Limited Deployment

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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.

DoD and Service policy is indicated by a BLUE vertical line.

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



Reference Source: DAU Glossary 

The first part of the Production and Deployment (P&D) phase. LRIP is intended to result in completion of manufacturing development in order to ensure adequate and efficient manufacturing capability and to produce the minimum quantity necessary to provide production or production-representative articles for Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E), establish an initial production base for the system, and permit an orderly increase in the production rate for the system, sufficient to lead to Full-Rate Production (FRP) upon successful completion of operational (and live-fire, where applicable) testing

Reference Source: Policy Memorandum for Independent Technical Risk Assessments for MDAPs

Independent Technical Risk Assessments (ITRAs) will be conducted on all Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAP) prior to Milestone A, Milestone B approval, and any decision to enter into low-rate initial production or full-rate production.


Cost Questions at LRIP

Reference Source: DAG CH 2-3.4 Milestone Specific Analysis

At each milestone or decision point, the analyst should provide a holistic view of the program and not just an estimate of the proposed solution. The cost analyst should provide analysis to the decision maker which provides insight enabling the decision maker to answer two main questions:

  • Has the DoD fully funded the program of record within the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP)?
  • Is the program of record an affordable solution for the DoD’s needs?

Determining the answer to the first question is straightforward: namely, is there funding in the budget and the FYDP that corresponds to the amount of funding forecasted to be necessary to carry out the program? The answer to the second question is more complex, and the analysis will vary at each milestone. Specific strategic questions for analysis at each milestone are described below.

At all milestones, when presenting analysis that will help the decision maker determine whether the program of record is one that fulfills the DoD’s needs and that the DoD can afford, the analyst should provide insight into:

  • The cost of the solution
  • Time needed to achieve the solution
  • Whether the solution pushes the envelope on performance
  • Any potential cost in extending the life of the current materiel solution until the new proposed solution is operational
  • Whether the solution impacts the DoD Component’s portfolio by affecting other programs that are valuable to the DoD.

When conducting the cost estimate for the low-rate initial production decision, the analyst should answer key strategic questions, including:

  • What is the most efficient and affordable way to procure the system when considering rate of procurement, programmatics, recompeting the contract, and use of government furnished equipment?
  • What is the most efficient and affordable way to transition to low-rate initial production and full-rate production?
    • What is the timing of initial procurement relative to operational testing results and demonstrated manufacturing capabilities?
    • How many operational systems should be purchased before testing is complete?
  • What technologies or strategies can be pursued to lower the sustainment costs?
  • Do the results of the cost analysis support the product support strategy BCA results?
  • Is the system affordable when compared to the annual O&S costs of the legacy system being replaced?
  • Is contractor logistics support or organic support more efficient and affordable?
  • Is the system cost effective, balancing the risks associated with the estimate of its O&S costs and related parameters such as reliability with higher system readiness and better mission availability?