Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT October-December 2017 Contents requirement to repair the boot. Similarly, the requirements must
include a definition of how worn the boot should be before the
Soldier can turn it in for replacement.
Step 5: The CDD also must identify key performance param-
eters (KPPs) or key system attributes (KSAs) that a vendor
absolutely must meet. For example, a KPP could be boot drying
time. A KSA may be the color of the boot, such as brown. There-
fore, tan, sand or khaki may be acceptable. Army leadership does
not make fashion statements and doesn’t care if the boots match
the uniform. But leadership does care if the boot achieves the
requirement to support the warfighter.
For all ACAT programs—tanks, ships and boots—CDDs are
restricted to a maximum of 45 pages. In researching my doctoral
dissertation to develop a strategy to accelerate the approval time
of an ACAT III program within the JCIDS process, I found that
virtually all of the CDDs in my research, regardless of the com-
plexity, had a page count of 45.
For ACAT IIIs, the ideal page count should be no more than
10 pages. Overly prescriptive requirements make the process
harder—not only for the requirement writer but for the contrac-
tor who eventually will produce the product. They also slow the
delivery, increase cost and inhibit creativity.
Helpful hint: Since all products must have a CDD, it makes
sense when developing one for a COTS product to have the
CDD’s wording reflect the actual capabilities of the product.
Leveraging the established capabilities of the COTS product
should make the description in the CDD shorter and easier to
Once the CDD is approved, it’s the PM’s responsibility to develop
a contract to acquire the capability. The PM shop will develop a
document called the capability production document (CPD) to
develop the acquisition and contracting strategy, which includes
the type of contract to be used (firm fixed-price, cost-plus or best
value) and the request for proposal (RFP). The RFP will include
the parameters by which proposals will be evaluated.
The CPD defines the specifications of the capability or product
the PM is contracting to acquire. If the PM representative is an
initial stakeholder, the development of the CPD can happen
while the CDD is being approved. Months, if not years, can
be saved if all the stakeholders work together simultaneously to
develop a CDD and a procurement document such as a CPD.
A sensible question to ask is, “How long should it take to acquire
a capability like a jungle boot?” Jungle boots currently exist in
the commercial market—as a COTS product—that meet most
if not all of the Army’s requirements. Thus, anyone can order a
pair online and have them delivered within a week.
Does it make sense that it has taken more than four years to
deliberate about the acquisition of a jungle boot through the
JCIDS process? Why spend over a year writing a lengthy CDD,
wait 120 days for approval and devote an additional 18 months
to contract, just to acquire something that’s already commercially
available? If the document writer can produce a CDD that is 10
pages or fewer and the CDD is understood by all stakeholders,
that time frame and the entire acquisition process will improve.
Based on examples of approved CDDs that I reviewed, I devel-
oped the “approval time formula.” The formula takes into
consideration six different factors that include the ACAT cat-
egory, the cost of the program, priority and the risk of the project.
Army management can use this formula to develop objective
metrics to track the program approval process and apply empha-
sis when necessary.
Will the time to deliver a COTS product ever be reduced to a
week? I think not. However, delivering a COTS product such as
a jungle boot within two years is very much within reach.
For more information, contact the author at DonSchlomer@
gmail.com or 813-826-1353; or go to https://www.dau.mil/
Integration-and-Development-System/. (A Common Access
Card is needed to log in.)
DR. DONALD SCHLOMER, LT. COL. , USA (RET.), provides
contract support for KTC Consulting as an acquisition specialist
at U.S . Special Operations Command. He has a doctorate in
business administration and in project management from Walden
University, an MBA in finance from Clemson University and a
B.B .A . in information systems from the University of Georgia, and
is a graduate of the Quartermaster Officer Advanced Course. He
has 14 years of JCIDS acquisition experience and was an instructor
of the JCIDS process for the U.S . Army Command and General
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