Materiel Development Decision (MDD)

Materiel Development Decision

The MDD is a review with acquisition executives and program stakeholders serving as the entry point into the acquisition lifecycle. The MDD creates a prime opportunity to infuse Agile practices at the start of a program and position it for success with buy-in from the major stakeholders. At the MDD, the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) reviews the initial requirements and any analysis conducted to date to authorize entry into the Materiel Solutions Analysis (MSA) Phase or subsequent point in the acquisition lifecycle.

A program seeking to adopt Agile practices should use the MDD to establish foundational processes and culture to enable an Agile environment. The operational and acquisition program leaders should communicate to their leadership and other stakeholders the objectives and benefits of Agile to the program. They should commit to working closely together throughout the acquisition lifecycle to iteratively define requirements and develop capabilities. Expectations should be agreed upon to use a tailored acquisition environment, as outlined in this Agile model, and an agreement to work together to remove impediments to iteratively delivering capabilities. Leaders should agree on a program structure that empowers lower level managers to make timely decisions, while providing senior leadership sufficient insight and transparency.

The Information Services – Initial Capabilities Document (IS-ICD) serves as the requirements document per the IT Box model in the JCIDS Manual.

The Director of CAPE, or the DoD Component equivalent, presents the AoA Study Guidance and the AoA lead organization presents the AoA Study Plan. This requires the program notifying and coordinating with these organizations ahead of the MDD. The Component provides the plan to staff and fund the actions that will precede the next decision point (usually Milestone A) including, where appropriate, competitive concept definition studies by industry.

If the MDD is approved, the MDA designates the lead DoD Component, determines the acquisition phase of entry, and identifies the initial review milestone. The MDA decision is captured in an Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM) with the approved AoA Study Guidance and AoA Study Plan attached. PMOs should draft the ADM using the (dated) MDD ADM Template capturing the planned approvals and MSA phase expectations for the MDA’s consideration.

Tailored List of Required Documents for MDD 




Information Systems Initial Capability Document (IS ICD)



Affordability Analysis



Tentative cost goals. Affordability goals will be defined at Milestone A.
AoA Study Guidance

AoA Study Plan



OSD CAPE (MAIS) or Component equivalent (ACAT III) provides AoA Study Guidance to inform the preparation of the AoA Study Plan.
Initial Threat Environment Assessment



Provides capability developers and PMs with an assessment of mission needs and capability gaps against likely adversary threat capabilities at IOC.

Additional Resources:


Submit a Comment

Share This