U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Acquisition Strategy


  1. Home
  2. Acquisition Strategy

Acquisition Strategy


Describes the Program Manager's plan to achieve program execution and programmatic goals across the entire program life cycle. Summarizes the overall approach to acquiring the capability (to include the program schedule, structure, risks, funding, and the business strategy). Contains sufficient detail to allow senior leadership and the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) to assess whether the strategy makes good business sense, effectively implements laws and policies, and reflects management's priorities. Once approved by the MDA, the Acquisition Strategy provides a basis for more detailed planning. The strategy evolves over time and should continuously reflect the current status and desired goals of the program.

General Information

DoDD 5000.01 - The Defense Acquisition System

To maximize competition, innovation, and interoperability, acquisition managers will consider and employ performance-based strategies for acquiring and sustaining products and services. “Performance-based strategy” means a strategy that supports an acquisition approach structured around the results to be achieved as opposed to the manner by which the work is to be performed. This approach will be applied to all new procurements and upgrades, as well as reprocurements of systems, subsystems, and spares that are procured beyond the initial production contract award

DoDI 5000.02 - Operation of the Adaptive Acquisition Framework

The AAF acquisition pathways provide opportunities for MDAs/DAs and PMs to develop acquisition strategies and employ acquisition processes that match the characteristics of the capability being acquired.

The MDA/DA is the program decision authority and specifies the decision points and procedures for assigned programs.  MDAs/DAs will tailor program strategies and oversight, phase content, the timing and scope of decision reviews, and decision levels based on the characteristics of the capability being acquired (including complexity, risk, and urgency) to satisfy user requirements.  MDAs for MDAPs and major systems will approve, as appropriate, the acquisition strategy at all major decision points. 

PMs will develop an acquisition strategy for MDA approval that matches the acquisition pathway, processes, reviews, documents, and metrics to the character and risk of the capability being acquired.

DoDI 5000.85 - Major Capability Acquisition

The PM will develop and execute an approved acquisition strategy. This document is the PM’s plan for program execution across the entire program life cycle.

(a) The acquisition strategy is a comprehensive, integrated plan that identifies the acquisition approach and key framing assumptions, and describes the business, technical, PS, security, and supportability strategies that the PM plans to employ to manage program risks and meet program objectives. The strategy evolves over time and should continuously reflect the current status and desired goals of the program.

(b) The strategy should address capability requirements for system performance likely to evolve during the life cycle because of evolving technology, threat, or interoperability needs or to reduce program cost or schedule and enable technology refresh. The acquisition strategy defines the relationship between the acquisition phases and work efforts, and key program events such as decision points and reviews.

(c) The strategy must reflect the PM’s understanding of the business environment; technical alternatives; small business strategy; costs, risks and risk mitigation approach; environment, safety, and occupational health (ESOH) risk and requirements management approach; contract awards; the incentive structure; test activities; manufacturing and quality approach and risks; production lot or delivery quantities; operational deployment objectives; opportunities in the domestic and international markets; foreign disclosure, exportability, technology transfer, and security requirements; and the plan to support successful delivery of the capability at an affordable life-cycle price, on a realistic schedule. Acquisition strategies are baseline plans for the execution of the program and should be prepared and submitted in time to obtain approval to support more detailed planning and the preparation of RFPs.

(d) The acquisition strategy is an approved plan; it is not a contract. Minor changes to the plan reflected in the acquisition strategy due to changed circumstances or increased knowledge are to be expected and do not require MDA pre-approval. Major changes, such as contract type or basic program structure, do require MDA approval prior to implementation. All changes should be noted and reflected in an update at the next program decision point or milestone.