Is there any current guidance requiring Technical Readiness Assessments for acquisition programs for the DOD and DON? If so, what is the guidance?
Technology Readiness Assessments (TRAs) used to be required during each major phase of the program. For example, going into EMD the TRL level of the system was targeted at 6 out of 9 on the TRL scale.
In Nov 2020, the new DODI 5000.88 was issued that put TRAs in the background in favor of Independent Technical Risk Assessments (ITRA.) These would be reviews of the program technical risk conducted by individuals or teams outside the program chain of command (where TRAs were done internally by the program office itself). There is detailed guidance on accomplishing ITRAs in Section 3.5b of the 5000.88. That says, in part: "For programs for which an ITRA is conducted, a technology readiness assessment report is not required. Programs will continue to assess and document the technology maturity of all critical technologies consistent with the technology readiness assessment guidance. ITRA teams may leverage technology maturation activities and receive access to results in order to perform independent technical reviews and assessments." ITRAs have essentially eclipsed TRAs in the program review process.
Since this Instruction is fairly new and this change is rather significant, the Services may not have as yet put out more specific steps to implement ITRAs. That said, even if they are no longer formally required, conducting an informal, periodic TRA on your program is still a recommended best practice, particularly as you move through TMRR into EMD. And performing a Manufacturing Readiness Assessment (MRA) is still a required task going into Milestone C and Production.