Software Acquisition

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Define Capability Needs

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.

Reference Source: DODI 5000.87 Section 1.2.a, g


Programs executing the software acquisition pathway are not subject to the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS), and will be handled as specifically provided for by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in consultation with Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (USD(A&S)) and each service acquisition executive. Software development will be done in active collaboration with end users, representing key user groups, to ensure software deliveries address their priority needs, maximize mission impact, and undergo regular assessment of software performance and risk.


Reference Source: DODI 5000.87 Section 3.2


Programs using the software acquisition pathway are not subject to JCIDS, except pursuant to a new process as discussed in Paragraph 2.8.a., but must be effective in capturing users’ needs, priorities, and environment.


Reference Source: USD(A&S) Guidance

Software Acquisition Pathway overarching process

Software Acquisition Pathway – Defining Needs and Engaging Users