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    Is there any guidance for writing a Capability Production Document for Non Developmental Items? Should the NDI be known or selected before writing the CPD? Should the capability requirements in the CPD adopt the NDI product as industry designed it? Does the PM have the latitude of selecting an NDI radio and the CPD be written addressing the selected NDI radio?


    This is not a question of what comes first, the chicken or the egg...but rather identifying what capability requirement(s) the warfighter has. Specific guidance for deriving and refining capability requirements can be found in JCIDS Manual, 12 February 2015, Enclosure C.  Sponsors are permitted to pursue a variety of approaches to determine their organizational capability requirements, depending upon the timeliness of the assessment and the scope of the activities being reviewed. Each approach must be tailored to suit the issue in totality. 

    Considering this, the actual capability requirement should maintain “solution independence,” i.e., “The Sponsor should not presuppose a specific capability solution or end item, but provide data related to forms and functions of potential solutions to support the development of capability requirement documents [e.g., ICD, CDD, and CPD]” (JCIDS Manual, 12 February 2015, Enclosure C, para 2b).  The decision to make, buy, reuse a solution (e.g., NDI in this case) is an implementation strategy decision born from the systems engineering technical processes as driven by the approved acquisition strategy. 

    While it may appear convenient, “reverse engineering” capability requirements to a known solution can have far-reaching impacts ranging from affordability constraints, loss of competition, proprietary systems, closed system architecture, increased risk, etc.  Ultimately, the final recommendations for specific capability requirements should include a focused and concise justification for the proposed action. This point is so essential that “Sponsors will use certified requirements managers…to monitor and evaluate capability requirement identification” as directed by JCIDS Manual, 12 February 2015, Enclosure C, para 1b (and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2007).  

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