Urgent Capability Acquisition (UCA)

Test & Evaluation

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.

Regarding test and evaluation, specific guidance for each acquisition pathway must be followed, as well as overarching guidance in Paragraph 3.1 of DoDI 5000.89.


Testing - Entry into Development

Reference Source: DoDI 5000.81, Section 4.3.1.(2)f, i.

The MDA will:


  • Approve the planned testing approach. A normal test and evaluation master plan (TEMP) is generally not necessary.
    • TEMPs are usually not appropriate for efforts using urgent capability acquisition procedures when there is minimal development work and minimal test and evaluation to execute. Some test planning is usually required, however, in collaboration with the supporting developmental or operational test organization. The MDA may require a highly-tailored and abbreviated test plan. The abbreviated test plan will describe a performance assessment approach that will include schedule, test types and environment, and assets required.
    • A TEMP is also not normally required if the urgent capability acquisition effort is under DOT&E oversight. The PM, in collaboration with the supporting operational test organization, should prepare operational and live fire test plans for DOT&E approval, however. An operational test plan for the required pre-deployment performance assessment is generally adequate.
  • Document these decisions in an ADM.


Test & Evaluation for the UCA Pathway

Reference Source: DoDI 5000.89, Section 4.2.

  • The DOT&E will monitor all programs using the urgent capability pathway to determine placement under T&E oversight. A TEMP is not normally required. Designated programs for DOT&E operational and live fire oversight will adhere to the policies established by the DOT&E for oversight programs. These include:


  • Approval by the DOT&E of OTPs and live fire test plans (LFTPs) at the production and development milestone. The Military Services are required to deliver test plans to the DOT&E 60 days before the start of testing.


  • Approval by the DOT&E of post-deployment assessment plans at the production and deployment milestone.


  • Programs not under T&E oversight are approved at the Service level; the program may require a rapid and focused operational assessment (OA) and live fire testing (if applicable) before deploying an urgent need solution. The acquisition approach will identify any requirements to evaluate health, safety, or operational effectiveness, suitability, survivability, and lethality.


  • As applicable, the DOT&E will submit independent OT and live fire reports to the Secretary of Defense, the USD(A&S), congressional defense committees, and Military Services. The Secretary of Defense may authorize certain programs to defer some testing until after fielding if he or she determines the testing would unnecessarily impede the deployment of the needed capability. Testing should normally include user feedback to support design and operational use improvements and the PM’s plans to correct identified deficiencies.



DOT&E Approval, When Applicable

Reference Source:DoDI 5000.89, Section 4.1.c.

As applicable within each pathway, and upon coordination with the DOT&E, the DOT&E approves, in writing, the adequacy of OT&E plans for all programs on the T&E oversight list, including, but not limited to, early operational assessments (EOAs), OAs, IOT&E, and follow-on OT&E. In accordance with Section 139 of Title 10, U.S.C., OTAs provide DOT&E plans to assess adequacy of data collection and analysis planning to support the DOT&E’s independent assessment of a system’s operational effectiveness, operational suitability, survivability (including cybersecurity), or lethality.

Designated programs for DOT&E operational and live fire oversight are described in the Test & Evaluation for the UCA Pathway toggle.

T&E in Acquisition Strategy

Reference Source: DoDI 5000.89, Section 4.1.a.

Pursuant to DoDD 5000.01 and DoDI 5000.02T, the PM will develop an acquisition strategy for MDA approval that matches the acquisition pathway [see AAF graphic] processes, reviews, documents, and metrics to the character and risk of the capability being acquired.

Transitions between Pathways

If other pathways are anticipated in conjunction with the UCA pathway or in transition from the UCA pathway:

Reference Source: DoDI 5000.89, Section 3.3.d.

A program may use several different acquisition pathways, such as the major capability acquisition pathway that has a component or subprogram being developed through the MTA pathway and a software capability developed using the software acquisition pathway. As required in the particular pathway guidance, individual program planning documents will include a transition or integration plan that describes the T&E scope and resources following the transition.