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Analysis of Alternatives (AoA)

AAC engineers have supported and led the developed of Analysis of Alternatives (AoA),one of the key inputs to defining the system capabilities in the Capability Development Document (CDD) and a prerequisite to Milestone B completion.

The AoA assesses the potential materiel solutions to satisfy the capability need documented in the approved ICD. The AoA identifies and analyses alternatives, measures of effectiveness, cost, schedule, concepts of operations, and overall risk of alternative systems to meet a mission capability. AAC engineers can help the PM assess the advantages and disadvantages of alternatives being considered to satisfy capabilities, including the sensitivity of each alternative to possible changes in key assumptions or variables.

The AoA assesses the critical technology elements (CTEs) associated with each proposed materiel solution, including technology maturity, integration risk, manufacturing feasibility, and, where necessary, technology maturation and demonstration needs. To achieve the best possible system solution, emphasis is placed on innovation and competition. Existing commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) functionality and solutions drawn from a diversified range of large and small businesses must be considered.

How the Process Works

For potential and designated ACAT I and IA programs, the DPA&E drafts, for MDA approval, AoA study guidance for review at the Materiel Development Decision. Following approval, the guidance is issued to the DoD Component or for ACAT IA programs, to the office of the Principal Staff Assistant responsible for the mission area. The DoD Component or the Principal Staff Assistant designates responsibility for completion of the study plan and the AoA; neither of which may be assigned to the PM.

AAC can support the AoA process from beginning to end. The study plan must be coordinated with the MDA and approved by the DPA&E prior to the start of the AoA. The final AoA must be provided to the DPA&E not later than 60 days prior to the DAB or ITAB milestone reviews. The DPA&E evaluates the AoA and provides an assessment to the Head of the DoD Component or Principal Staff Assistant and to the MDA. In this evaluation, the DPA&E, in collaboration with the OSD and Joint Staff, assess the extent to which the AoA:

• Illuminated capability advantages and disadvantages;
• Considered joint operational plans;
• Examined sufficient feasible alternatives;
• Discussed key assumptions and variables and sensitivity to changes in these;
• Calculated costs; and,
• Assessed technology risk/maturity, alternative ways to improve the energy efficiency,
appropriate system training


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