Can the PM also be the MDA?
SECNAVINST 5000.2D provides Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) delegation policy for Department of Navy ACAT III and IV programs as authorized by law and regulations. Specifically, paragraph 2.4.5 informs that “PEOs, SYSCOM Commanders, and DRPMs... shall designate ACAT IV programs and may delegate MDA authority for such programs to a designated flag officer, SES official, or to the PM.” This suggests that the approach MCSC is considering is not explicitly forbidden.
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However, SECNAVINST 5000.2D, paragraph 6b also states: “Program Executive Officers (PEOs), Systems Command (SYSCOM) Commanders, Direct Reporting Program Managers (DRPMs), and Program Managers (PMs) shall ensure separation of functions so the authority to conduct oversight, source selection, contract negotiations/award does not reside in one person.” To accomplish this, Service acquisition organizations use multiple constructs (e.g., Principal Assistant PM, Assistant PM, Deputy Assistant PM, Product Manager (PdM), etc.) to assist the PM with complying with the Title 10 USC responsibility for and authority to accomplish program objectives and accountability for credible cost, schedule, and performance reporting to the MDA.
The approach that MCSC is considering to delegate cost, schedule, and performance responsibility to Product Managers (PdMs) under the Product Group Directors (PGDs) for MCSC ACAT IV PORs and Abbreviated Acquisition Programs appears to be consistent with the aforementioned policy; however, this must be agreed to by the MDA and Component Acquisition Executive to ensure compliance with all laws and regulations.