Can the designated MDA waive the regulatory Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) for non-MDAP programs (i.e. ACAT III and IV programs)?
The DAU glossary states that APB is an agreement between the Program Manager (PM) and the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) that reflects the approved program and contains schedule, performance, and cost parameters that are the basis for satisfying an identified mission need. The first APB is approved by the MDA prior to a program entering Engineering and Manufacturing Development, or at program initiation, whichever occurs later. As a minimum, the APB contains the objective and threshold values for major milestones and significant schedule events, key performance parameters from the approved requirements document, and the life-cycle cost estimate approved for the program.
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The DoDD 5000.01, The Defense Acquisition System dated May 12, 2003 states that the policy contained in the directive apply to all acquisition programs. Paragraph 4.3.4 states: “4.3.4. Discipline. PMs shall manage programs consistent with statute and the regulatory requirements specified in this Directive and in reference (b). Every PM shall establish program goals for the minimum number of cost, schedule, and performance parameters that describe the program over its life cycle. Approved program baseline parameters shall serve as control objectives. PMs shall identify deviations from approved acquisition program baseline parameters and exit criteria.”
The DoDI 5000.02, Operation of the Defense Acquisition System, dated Aug 10, 2017 establishes the Milestone and Phase Information Requirements for programs in Table 2. Page 50 covers the Acquisition Program Baseline (APB). Based on the guidance in the table, this is statutory for MDAPs at MS-B, MS-C, and FRPDR and regulatory for all other program types/events.
The services also have additional guidance with regard to the APB, for example, the Army requires all programs have an APB and be recorded in the APB registry.
The Milestone Decision Authority can waive regulatory requirements for programs and based on the guidance, this is authorized for APB’s for non-MDAP programs. Given the importance of the APB in capturing the cost, schedule, and performance goals of a program to support mission needs, there would need to be compelling information to lead to the decision to waive the requirement.