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    Is there a difference between Full Deployment Decision (FDD) and Full Operational Capability (FOC) as applied to software development? Please provide the official definition of each. Also, which, if either has a requirement to meet a 5 year achievement deadline from declaration of Initial Operational Capability (IOC)?


    There is a difference between Full Deployment Decision (FDD) and Full Operational Capability (FOC).  According to the DAU Glossary, FOC is “attained when all units and/or organizations in the force structure scheduled to receive a system: 1) have received it, and 2) have the ability to employ and maintain it. The specifics for any particular system FOC are defined in that system’s Capability Development Document and Capability Production Document.”  FOC generally refers to systems other than Major Automated Information Systems such as MDAPs or Major Defense Acquisition Programs. 

    FDD, on the other hand, is applicable to Major Automated Information Systems.  Recently, section 2445 of title 10, United States Code, replaced references to “initial operational capability” (IOC) and “full operational capability” (FOC) with the term “full deployment decision” (FDD) in order to bring terminology more in line with updated acquisition regulations. For major automated information systems, the final acquisition decision is referred to as the “full deployment decision” (FDD).  FDD is a more meaningful metric for software intensive programs and the acquisition community controls the date unlike the initial operational capability (IOC) and full operational capability (FOC) which is controlled by the user community.  There is a requirement to achieve an FDD within 5 years of when funds for the program are first obligated.  

    The “funds first obligated” date is determined as follows: if a Milestone A (MS A) has occurred, it is the MS A date; if a MS A has not occurred, or will not occur, it is the date the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) approves or concurs with the preferred alternative for the program (i.e., selected alternative from the Analysis of Alternatives (AoA)); if the MDA is concerned that an IT investment is spending substantial funds before achieving MS A approval, the MDA may choose to designate the program as a pre-MAIS program and establish the date of that designation as the “funds first obligated” date.

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