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    We in AFGSC are in the middle of writing a CDD on the B61 Nuclear Weapon System. Here's my question: If we want to put a high emphasis on acquiring a certain accuracy capability, should we make it an KPP Objective or a KSA Threshold. Making it a KPP Threshold is out of the question. Thanks in advance.


    Although I understand your need to be vague in your description, here are some basic terms that may shed some light on your issue.  From the 19 Jan 2012 JCIDS Manual, " provides "(1) The CDD is the Sponsor’s primary means of proposing refined capability requirements, in the form of KPPs, KSAs, and additional performance attributes, associated with a particular solution intended to wholly or partially satisfy validated capability requirements and close or mitigate associated capability gaps. CDD KPPs must be inserted verbatim into the performance section of the acquisition strategy and the Acquisition Program Baseline (APB)."

    Additionally, it states "(6) Development KPPs, KSAs, and additional performance attributes.
    (a) Sponsors must consider the six “required” KPPs detailed in Appendix A to this Enclosure. Not all KPPs will be applicable to every requirement, so Sponsors may either use the listed KPPs or articulate why a particular KPP is not applicable. For each applicable KPP, provide specific attributes related to the KPP which must be met rather than a generic statement that the endorsements for the KPPs will be obtained.
    (b) Sponsors should avoid over specification of KPPs/KSAs, or inclusion of technical specifications as KPPs/KSAs, unless essential to addressing a specific capability gap.
    (c) Provide a description of each attribute and list each attribute in a separate numbered subparagraph. Correlate each KPP and KSA to the capability requirements defined in the ICD and the Tier 1 and 2 JCAs to which they contribute directly.  Where applicable, also correlate to the UJTL tasks to which each contributes. Include rationale for each, in terms of ISCs supported or as being derived from other requirements, and cite any existing analytic references. When appropriate, the description should include any unique operating environments for the system. Provide any additional information that the Program Manager (PM) should consider. If the CDD is describing a SoS solution, it must describe the attributes for the SoS level of performance and any unique attributes for each of the constituent systems. If the CDD is describing multiple increments, clearly identify which attributes apply to each increment.
    (d) Present each attribute in output-oriented, measurable, and testable terms. For each attribute, provide a development threshold value representing the value below which performance is unacceptable. Provide objective values for attributes when the increased performance level provides significant increases in operational utility. If the objective and the threshold values are the same, indicate this by including the statement “Threshold = Objective.” The PM may use this information to provide incentives for the developing contractor or to weigh capability tradeoffs between threshold and objective values. When there are multiple capability increments and the threshold changes between increments, clearly identify the threshold for each increment. For CDDs that describe IS and use the IT Box model, list the Initial Minimums in lieu of Threshold values and do not list Objective values."

    So in layman's terms, KPP's are the got-to-haves (those attributes or characteristics that are considered critical or essential to the development of the capability), these are those things the user has determined are the go-no go criteria.  KSAs are toher system attributes considered most critical or essential but were not selected as KPPs.  Both of these would have objective and threshold values.  Threshold values are minimum operational values acceptable to the user (going below this value calls into question the utility/validity of the system in question).  Objective values are the desired operational goal (but anything over that value most likely will not warrant expenditure of additional resources to achieve). In some cases, the objective values could be smaller numbers than the threshold vaules [e.g., in Circular Error Probable (CEP) for accuracy, a smaller value would be better than a larger value].

    Based on the information above, I am not sure why you state your question as you do.  My experience tells me that your dilemma is whether you make this attribute a KPP or a KSA (both could have objective and threshold values). If the accuracy you refer to is considered critical or essential by the user, my inclination would be to make it a KPP.  If there are other more critical attributes that would take priority, then you could make the case for making it a KSA.  However, in either case, you will still need to establish a threshold value that represents the minimum acceptable value (usually achievable with low to moderate risk) and an objective value that represents the desired operational goal that is acheivable at a higher cost, schedule, performance risk.  The difference in these values is the PM's trade space.

    You can find more information on this topic and others in the Defense Acquisition Guidebook at

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