Urgent Capability Acquisition (UCA)

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Policies & Guidance

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.



Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD)


DoDI 5000.81, Urgent Capability Acquisition

DoDD 5000.71, Rapid Fulfillment of Combatant Commander Urgent Operational Needs

DoDM 5000.78, Rapid Acquisition Authority

Deputy Secretary of Defense Memorandum, “Establishment of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research Engineering and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment” 

DoDD 5000.01, “The Defense Acquisition System” 

DoDI 5000.02, “Operation of the Defense Acquisition System” 

DoDI 8510.01, “Risk Management Framework (RMF) for DoD Information Technology (IT)” 

DoDM 8910.01, Volume 1, “DoD Information Collections Manual: Procedures for DoD Internal Information Collections” 

Secretary of Defense Publication, “2018 National Defense Strategy” 

Joint Staff


CJCSI 5123.01H, Charter of the JROC and Operation of the Joint Capabilities Identification and Determination System (JCIDS), Encl D, JCIDS Implementation

JCIDS Manual (DoD CAC Required), Encl A, Appendix B, JCIDS Urgent/Emergent Process

DoD Components

Air Force

AFPD 10-601, Capability Requirements Development, Chapter 7, Urgent/Emergent Operational Needs

AF/A5R, Requirements Development Guidebook, Vol 2, Urgent Needs


AR 71-9, Warfighting Capabilities DeterminationChapter 6, Urgent Operational Needs Process and Other Quick Reaction Capabilities

AR 70-1, Army Acquisition Policy, Chapter 13, Urgent Capability Acquisition

Navy & Marine Corps

SECNAVINST 5000.2F. Encl 5 and 8 refer to DoD policy and JCIDS

SECNAVIST 5000.42, Dept of the Navy Accelerated Acquisition for the Rapid Development, Demonstration, and Fielding of Capability

OPNAVIST 5000.53A, US Navy Maritime Accelerated Acquisition


USSOCOM Directive 71-4 (restricted site)

Government Accountability Office (GAO)

The following GAO reports are recent and may be of specific interest to users of the Urgent Capability Acquisition pathway. The list is not all inclusive, and additional reports can be found at the GAO website.

Most Recent GAO Reports

COVID-19: Urgent Actions Needed to Better Ensure an Effective Federal Response
GAO-21-191: Published: Nov 30, 2020.  Publicly Released:  Nov 30, 2020.


RCG of North Carolina, LLC
B-418824, B-418824.3:  Sep 17, 2020


COVID-19 Contracting:  Observations on Federal Contracting in Response to the Pandemic
GAO-20-632: Published: Jul 29, 2020. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2020.


Missile Defense: Delivery Delays Provide Opportunity for Increased Testing to Better Understand Capability
GAO-19-387: Published: Jun 6, 2019. Publicly Released: Jun 6, 2019.


Weapon Systems Annual Assessment: Limited Use of Knowledge-Based Practices Continues to Undercut DOD’s Investments
GAO-19-336SP: Published: May 7, 2019. Publicly Released: May 7, 2019.


Weapon Systems Annual Assessment: Knowledge Gaps Pose Risks to Sustaining Recent Positive Trends
GAO-18-360SP: Published: Apr 25, 2018. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 2018.


U.S. Manufacturing: Federal Programs Reported Providing Support and Addressing Trends
GAO-17-240: Published: Mar 28, 2017. Publicly Released: Apr 27, 2017.


Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs
GAO-16-329SP: Published: Mar 31, 2016. Publicly Released: Mar 31, 2016.


Weapon System Acquisitions: Opportunities Exist to Improve the Department of Defense’s Portfolio Management
GAO-15-466: Published: Aug 27, 2015. Publicly Released: Aug 27, 2015.


Defense Contracting: Observations on Air Force Use of Undefinitized Contract Actions
GAO-15-496R: Published: May 18, 2015. Publicly Released: May 18, 2015.


2015 Annual Report: Additional Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication and Achieve Other Financial Benefits
GAO-15-404SP: Published: Apr 14, 2015. Publicly Released: Apr 14, 2015.


Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs [Reissued on April 9, 2015]
GAO-15-342SP: Published: Mar 12, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 12, 2015.


DOD Acquisitions: Opportunities May Exist to Increase Utility of Nondevelopmental Items Pilot Program
GAO-15-285: Published: Jan 29, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 29, 2015.


Ground Radar and Guided Munitions: Increased Oversight and Cooperation Can Help Avoid Duplication among the Services’ Programs
GAO-15-103: Published: Dec 19, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 19, 2014.


Raytheon Company and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS
B-409615,B-409615.2: Jun 24, 2014


Army Networks: Select Programs Are Utilizing Competition to Varying Degrees
GAO-14-460: Published: May 29, 2014. Publicly Released: May 29, 2014.


Federal Contracting: Noncompetitive Contracts Based on Urgency Need Additional Oversight
GAO-14-304: Published: Mar 26, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 2014


Next Generation Jammer: DOD Should Continue to Assess Potential Duplication and Overlap As Program Moves Forward
GAO-13-642: Published: Aug 20, 2013. Publicly Released: Aug 20, 2013.


Defense Business Transformation: Improvements Made but Additional Steps Needed to Strengthen Strategic Planning and Assess Progress
GAO-13-267: Published: Feb 12, 2013. Publicly Released: Feb 12, 2013.


Defense Acquisitions: Future Aerostat and Airship Investment Decisions Drive Oversight and Coordination Needs
GAO-13-81: Published: Oct 23, 2012. Publicly Released: Oct 23, 2012.


Highlights (PDF, 1 page) Warfighter Support: DOD Should Improve Development of Camouflage Uniforms and Enhance Collaboration Among the Services
GAO-12-707: Published: Sep 28, 2012. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 2012.


Industrial Base: U.S. Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Manufacturers Face Period of Uncertainty as DOD Purchases Decline and Foreign Sales Potential Remains Unknown
GAO-12-859: Published: Sep 13, 2012. Publicly Released: Sep 13, 2012.


Cancellation of the Army’s Autonomous Navigation System
GAO-12-851R: Published: Aug 2, 2012. Publicly Released: Aug 2, 2012.


Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices: Multiple DOD Organizations are Developing Numerous Initiatives
GAO-12-861R: Published: Aug 1, 2012. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 2012.


Urgent Warfighter Needs: Opportunities Exist to Expedite Development and Fielding of Joint Capabilities
GAO-12-385: Published: Apr 24, 2012. Publicly Released: Apr 24, 2012.


Defense Biometrics: Additional Training for Leaders and More Timely Transmission of Data Could Enhance the Use of Biometrics in Afghanistan
GAO-12-442: Published: Apr 23, 2012. Publicly Released: Apr 23, 2012.


Airborne Electronic Attack: Achieving Mission Objectives Depends on Overcoming Acquisition Challenges
GAO-12-175: Published: Mar 29, 2012. Publicly Released: Mar 30, 2012.


Defense Management: Guidance and Progress Measures Are Needed to Realize Benefits from Changes in DOD’s Joint Requirements Process
GAO-12-339: Published: Feb 24, 2012. Publicly Released: Feb 24, 2012.


Warfighter Support: DOD Has Made Progress, but Supply and Distribution Challenges Remain in Afghanistan
GAO-12-138: Published: Oct 7, 2011. Publicly Released: Oct 7, 2011.


Defense Acquisitions: DOD Can Improve Its Management of Configuration Steering Boards
GAO-11-640: Published: Jul 7, 2011. Publicly Released: Jul 7, 2011.


Military Uniforms: Issues Related to the Supply of Flame Resistant Fibers for the Production of Military Uniforms
GAO-11-682R: Published: Jun 30, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 2011.


DOD Weapon Systems: Missed Trade-off Opportunities During Requirements Reviews
GAO-11-502: Published: Jun 16, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 16, 2011.


Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance: Actions Are Needed to Increase Integration and Efficiencies of DOD’s ISR Enterprise
GAO-11-465: Published: Jun 3, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 3, 2011.


Defense Management: Perspectives on the Involvement of the Combatant Commands in the Development of Joint Requirements
GAO-11-527R: Published: May 20, 2011. Publicly Released: May 20, 2011.


Warfighter Support: DOD Should Have a More Comprehensive Approach for Addressing Urgent Warfighter Needs
GAO-11-417T: Published: Mar 1, 2011. Publicly Released: Mar 1, 2011.


Warfighter Support: DOD’s Urgent Needs Processes Need a More Comprehensive Approach and Evaluation for Potential Consolidation
GAO-11-273: Published: Mar 1, 2011. Publicly Released: Mar 1, 2011.


Defense Acquisitions: Issues to Be Considered as DOD Modernizes Its Fleet of Tactical Wheeled Vehicles
GAO-11-83: Published: Nov 5, 2010. Publicly Released: Nov 5, 2010.


Defense Contracting: Enhanced Training Could Strengthen DOD’s Best Value Tradeoff Decisions
GAO-11-8: Published: Oct 28, 2010. Publicly Released: Oct 28, 2010.


Tactical Aircraft: DOD’s Ability to Meet Future Requirements Is Uncertain, with Key Analyses Needed to Inform Upcoming Investment Decisions
GAO-10-789: Published: Jul 29, 2010. Publicly Released: Aug 9, 2010.


Warfighter Support: Improvements to DOD’s Urgent Needs Processes Would Enhance Oversight and Expedite Efforts to Meet Critical Warfighter Needs
GAO-10-460: Published: Apr 30, 2010. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 2010.


Warfighter Support: Challenges Confronting DOD’s Ability to Coordinate and Oversee Its Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices Efforts
GAO-10-186T: Published: Oct 29, 2009. Publicly Released: Oct 29, 2009.


Warfighter Support: Actions Needed to Improve Visibility and Coordination of DOD’s Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Efforts
GAO-10-95: Published: Oct 29, 2009. Publicly Released: Oct 29, 2009.


Defense Acquisitions: Rapid Acquisition of MRAP Vehicles
GAO-10-155T: Published: Oct 8, 2009. Publicly Released: Oct 8, 2009.


Defense Acquisitions: Opportunities Exist to Achieve Greater Commonality and Efficiencies among Unmanned Aircraft Systems
GAO-09-520: Published: Jul 30, 2009. Publicly Released: Jul 30, 2009.


Defense Management: DOD Needs to Improve Program Management, Policy, and Testing to Enhance Ability to Field Operationally Useful Non-lethal Weapons
GAO-09-344: Published: Apr 21, 2009. Publicly Released: Apr 21, 2009.


Defense Management: DOD Needs to Increase Attention on Fuel Demand Management at Forward-Deployed Locations
GAO-09-300: Published: Feb 20, 2009. Publicly Released: Mar 3, 2009.


Defense Management: DOD Needs to Establish Clear Goals and Objectives, Guidance, and a Designated Budget to Manage Its Biometrics Activities
GAO-08-1065: Published: Sep 26, 2008. Publicly Released: Sep 26, 2008.


Defense Acquisitions: DOD’s Requirements Determination Process Has Not Been Effective in Prioritizing Joint Capabilities
GAO-08-1060: Published: Sep 25, 2008. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 2008.


Operation Iraqi Freedom: Actions Needed to Enhance DOD Planning for Reposturing of U.S. Forces from Iraq
GAO-08-930: Published: Sep 10, 2008. Publicly Released: Sep 10, 2008.


Rapid Acquisition of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles
GAO-08-884R: Published: Jul 15, 2008. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 2008.


Defense Space Activities: DOD Needs to Further Clarify the Operationally Responsive Space Concept and Plan to Integrate and Support Future Satellites
GAO-08-831: Published: Jul 11, 2008. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 2008.


Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance: DOD Can Better Assess and Integrate ISR Capabilities and Oversee Development of Future ISR Requirements
GAO-08-374: Published: Mar 24, 2008. Publicly Released: Apr 23, 2008.


Defense Management: Overarching Organizational Framework Needed to Guide and Oversee Energy Reduction Efforts for Military Operations
GAO-08-426: Published: Mar 13, 2008. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 2008.


Defense Management: More Transparency Needed over the Financial and Human Capital Operations of the Joint Improvised Explosive
GAO-08-342: Published: Mar 6, 2008. Publicly Released: Mar 6, 2008.


Defense Contract Management: DOD’s Lack of Adherence to Key Contracting Principles on Iraq Oil Contract Put Government Interests at Risk
GAO-07-839: Published: Jul 31, 2007. Publicly Released: Aug 9, 2007.


Defense Acquisitions: An Analysis of the Special Operations Command’s Management of Weapon System Programs
GAO-07-620: Published: Jun 28, 2007. Publicly Released: Jun 28, 2007.


Defense Acquisitions: Analysis of Processes Used to Evaluate Active Protection Systems
GAO-07-759: Published: Jun 8, 2007. Publicly Released: Jun 8, 2007.


Defense Acquisitions: Status and Challenges of Joint Forces Command’s Limited Acquisition Authority
GAO-07-546: Published: Apr 12, 2007. Publicly Released: Apr 12, 2007.


DOD’s High-Risk Areas: Progress Made Implementing Supply Chain Management Recommendations, but Full Extent of Improvement Unknown
GAO-07-234: Published: Jan 17, 2007. Publicly Released: Jan 17, 2007.


Defense Acquisitions: DOD Needs to Exert Management and Oversight to Better Control Acquisition of Services
GAO-07-359T: Published: Jan 17, 2007. Publicly Released: Jan 17, 2007.


Defense Acquisitions: Restructured JTRS Program Reduces Risk, but Significant Challenges Remain
GAO-06-955: Published: Sep 11, 2006. Publicly Released: Sep 11, 2006.


DOD Acquisitions: Contracting for Better Outcomes
GAO-06-800T: Published: Sep 7, 2006. Publicly Released: Sep 7, 2006.


Contract Management: DOD Vulnerabilities to Contracting Fraud, Waste, and Abuse
GAO-06-838R: Published: Jul 7, 2006. Publicly Released: Jul 7, 2006.


Additional GAO reports: US Government Accountability Office