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  • Question

    Is there a common agreed upon definition of a requirement between Defense Acquisition, JCIDS, and PPBES? Also does it differ within a IT environment or within the Intelligence Community when conforming to Defense Acquisitions of Services?


    Answer

    The short answer is: No, there is no common agreed upon definition of a requirement. There are many types of requirements (Capability, Documentation, Functional, Funding...). Readers must usually use the context to determine what kind of requirement a given document is discussing.

    For clarity, the two documents behind the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) – Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff Instruction (CJCSI) 3170.01 and the JCIDS Manual – do not use the single word “requirement,” but consistently define and apply the term “capability requirement.” Both sources define the term capability requirement as: “A capability which is required to meet an organization’s roles, functions, and missions in current or future operations.”

    The answer to the first question also applies to the second question. The definitions vary depending on the context. Requirements within the Intelligence Community conforming to the acquisitions of services do not fall under JCIDS. We recommend avoiding the word "requirement" by itself. A clear document will specify what kind of requirement it is discussing perhaps by following the best practice of the JCIDS Manual. Precede the word "requirement" with a qualifier like "capability," "information," or, "service."

    These questions appear with interesting timing. Defense AT&L is considering the article "Losing Something in Translation" for publication in an upcoming issue. That article will discuss confusion over terminology which includes the disagreement over the word "requirement."


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