Major Capability Acquisition (MCA)

AAF  >  MCA  >  Technical Reviews

Technical Reviews and Risk Assessments

How to use this site

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.



This page outlines the major technical reviews across the acquisition lifecycle. 


Reference Source: DODI 5000.88 Section 3.5.a


Systems engineering technical reviews provide a venue to establish the technical baselines, assess the system’s technical maturity, and review and assess technical risks. At each technical review, the PM will, to the extent practicable, use information from the digital authoritative source of truth to assess key risks, issues, opportunities, and mitigation plans in order to understand cost, schedule, and performance implications. Unless waived through the SEP approval process, the PM will conduct these system level reviews, or equivalent:


  • System requirements review or system functional review.
  • Preliminary design review (PDR).
  • Critical design review (CDR).
  • System verification review or functional configuration audit.
  • Production readiness review.
  • Physical configuration audit.


The PM will include participation of OUSD(R&E) representatives for ACAT ID programs. Additionally, the PM will ensure a USD(R&E) representative is invited to all ACAT ID sub-system PDRs and CDRs.


In accordance with Section 2366b of Title 10, U.S.C., OUSD(R&E) will conduct a PDR assessment for ACAT 1D programs. In addition, OUSD(R&E) will conduct a CDR assessment for ACAT ID programs. The results of these assessments will be used to inform the MDA of any technical risks, maturation of the technical baseline, and the program’s readiness to proceed. For all other MDAPs, the DoD Component concerned will conduct PDR and CDR assessments.

System Requirements Review (SRR)

Ensure that the developer understands the system requirements and is ready to proceed with the initial system design. 

System Functional Review (SFR)

Evaluate whether the functional baseline satisfies the end-user requirements and capability needs and whether functional requirements and verification methods will achieve performance requirements.

Preliminary Design Review (PDR)

Ensures the preliminary design and system architecture are complete, there is technical confidence the capability need can be satisfied within cost and schedule goals, and risks mitigated.

Critical Design Review (CDR)

Confirms the system design is stable, expected to meet system performance requirements and achieve affordability goals. Establish the initial product baseline.

Test Readiness Review (TRR)

Verify the system is ready to enter the test and that the funding and execution of a test executes the test and gathers the required information.

System Verification Review (SVR)

Verify the system performance meets the requirements in the system performance specification and is documented in the functional baseline. 

Production Readiness Review (PRR)

Determines whether the system design is ready for production, and whether the developer has accomplished adequate production planning for entering production.

Physical Configuration Audit

Examine the actual configuration of an item being produced in order to verify that the related design documentation matches the item as specified in the contract.

Independent Technical Risk Assessment (ITRA)

Provide a view of program technical risk, independent of the program
and the chain of command leading to the MDA.