Software Acquisition

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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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Congress directed DoD to ensure applicability [of the SWP] to defense business systems” in Section 835 of the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act.

This direction was driven by the recognition that commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products for DBS solutions are often software intensive and benefit from iteratively delivering capability using Agile and DevSecOps methods. On the SWP, defense business systems can adopt and tailor critical Business Capability Acquisition Cycle (BCAC) processes while also providing flexibility for continuous delivery of capability. This SWP hybrid approach can provide relief in multiple areas:

• Provide greater flexibility and agility with appropriate rigor
• Accelerate delivery of capability incrementally without delay
• Reduce the burden of recurring formal ATP events and shift focus on user value
• Eliminate BCAC decision points for Full Deployment and Capability Support that may be unattainable or unrealistic given that software is never done for DBS programs.

Tailoring the SWP and associated BCAC processes still requires consideration of necessary Business Process Reengineering (BPR).

Any Defense Business System using modern software development practices and adopting an iterative release approach with at least annual software deliveries can benefit from using the SWP. 


Defense Business Systems and Software Pathway


DBS in SWP Planning Phase

Reference Source: OUSD(A&S) Guidance

The SWP Planning Phase for defense business systems equates to the first three phases in the BCAC process: Capability Identification, Solution Analysis, Functional Requirements and Acquisition Planning. The intent of the three BCAC phases is to identify the operational community needs, prioritize those needs to guide the development/implementation, and develop tailored strategies to acquire and deliver capabilities. To align with the single SWP Planning phase, the three BCAC phases can be tailored or consolidated. Additionally, elements related to Business Process Reengineering (BPR) and prototyping could be re-aligned under the SWP Execution phase as part of MVP development.

Using the SWP, defense business systems can reduce three formal ATPs to a single DA approval prior to moving from the Planning to Execution phase and the DA could serve as the approval official to satisfy the Title 10 USC 2222 requirement to proceed with development.

DBS in SWP Execution Phase

Reference Source: OUSD(A&S) Guidance

Both the BCAC and SWP support the delivery of iterative delivery of capability. The BCAC has five phases and is intended to be cyclical and flexible with steps repeating as necessary to drive rapid achievement of intended business outcome(s). DBS programs strictly following BCAC would complete two phases for delivering capability vice entry once into the SWP Execution Phase. For DBS programs with well-defined capability and transition to sustainment plans, the BCAC works well. Conversely, the SWP is intended to support the iterative delivery and operations of capability under the premise that software is never done. This is more suitable for defense business systems with multi-year incremental capability implementation schedules and/or evolving COTS product baselines. The DBS program can tailor or transition to the SWP to gain relief from cycling through the Capability Support phase and associated ATP as well as from repeating the full BCAC lifecycle for each capability implementation.

DBS in SWP Strategies

Reference Source: OUSD(A&S) Guidance


Defense business systems could benefit from the single, consolidated Planning phase to meet the intent of the BCAC where development and tailoring of strategies occurs prior to the Acquisition ATP. Strategies can be developed to align BPR and prototyping activities to iterative capability releases and reduce risk prior to capability acquisition.

DBS in SWP User Agreements

Reference Source: OUSD(A&S) Guidance

Defense business systems maintain some standard roles given the communities that they serve and the need for strong functional-oriented leadership. These programs can benefit greatly from using the SWP User Agreement to clarify detailed roles of participants and stakeholders specific to business capability development and delivery. For instance, the Functional Sponsor can take the place of the Operational Sponsor

• The functional sponsor is the DoD or Component senior leader with business function responsibility seeking to improve mission performance. The functional sponsor confirms the need for improved business operations and represents the user community interests throughout the BCAC. The functional sponsor represents the DoD organization(s) with a business problem or opportunity that may be addressed via the acquisition of a business system, business process reengineering, or related business changes.

• The functional lead manages business process reengineering and execution of business process changes. They lead definition of functional requirements and training and deployment for the business capability. This role reports to the functional sponsor and collaborates with the program manager.

DBS in SWP Initial Delivery

Reference Source: OUSD(A&S) Guidance

 Defense business systems require iterative delivery of capability. Those with a high level of schedule uncertainty between what would represent a “Limited Deployment” versus “Full Deployment” benefit from adopting the “software is never done” philosophy under the SWP. Capability Implementation Planning could also be better supported through adoption of MVP approaches that enable early learning to support the BCAC Solution Analysis and pre-Acquisition ATP activities.

DBS in SWP DevSecOps Approaches

Reference Source: OUSD(A&S) Guidance

In many respects, the tenets of reuse of Enterprise Services parallel those of leveraging COTS. Defense Business Systems often design and implement a COTS product versus integration of an Enterprise Service so many of the Enterprise Services and DevSecOps approaches align well with the integration and development of a defense business system.