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Independent Logistics Assessment (ILA)

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An analysis of a program's supportability planning conducted by an independent and impartial team of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) not directly associated with the program being assessed. It is an effective and valid assessment of the program office's Product Support Strategy (PSS), as well as an assessment of how this strategy leads to successfully operating a system at an affordable cost.

General Information

ILA Requirements

The key statutory requirement related to ILAs is as follows: 

  • 10 USC 4325, Major weapon systems: assessment, management, and control of operating costs - This statute requires military departments to "conduct an independent logistics assessment of each major weapon system prior to key acquisition decision points (including milestone decisions) to identify features that are likely to drive future operating and support [O&S] costs, changes to system design that could reduce such costs, and effective strategies for managing such costs.”

The statutory requirement has been incorporated into DoD Instruction (DoDI) 5000.91, Product Support Management for the Adaptive Acquisition Framework. Section 4.10 states that "The ILA identifies features that are likely to drive future O&S costs, changes to system design that could reduce such costs, and effective strategies for managing such costs" and that "ILAs are conducted prior to key acquisition decision points, milestone decisions, and the full rate production decision." ILAs are only mandatory for major weapon systems; they are conducted at Component discretion for all other systems.

Section 7.2.b.(1) of DoDI 5000.91 addresses ILAs in the context of Major Capability Acquisition (MCA) programs. It states the Program Manager (PM) and Product Support Manager (PSM) "will continually assess the product support approach for DoD Component level program product support assessments and technical reviews (e.g., systems engineering and test) to ensure the system design and product support performance are integrated to achieve the sustainment objectives and provide data to inform applicable modeling and simulation tools." It adds that "Assessments and reviews assist the PM, PSM, system operators and maintainers, resource sponsors, and materiel enterprise stakeholders in taking corrective action to prevent degraded materiel readiness or O&S cost growth."

Title 10 USC Section 4323 addresses the separate but complementary Sustainment Reviews (SR). SRs are conducted for covered systems post-Initial Operational Capability (IOC). Per DoDI 5000.91 Section 4.10, DoD Components will conduct SRs of covered systems no later than 5 years after IOC, and then every 5 years thereafter, to assess the program's performance and O&S costs. The SR will be conducted in conjunction with revalidating the Product Support Business Case Analysis and updating the Life Cycle Sustainment Plan. For covered systems, the SR process is used to satisfy the requirement to conduct ILAs after IOC is achieved.

General Information  

The DoD Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Product Support Assessment (WSAR-PSA) of 2009 identified eight principal areas to improve product support effectiveness. One of those areas was "Governance," and it included the recommendation to implement ILAs during weapon system development, production, and Post-IOC acquisition phases. The reasoning was that ILAs provide leaders with insights into the health assessment of each Integrated Product Support (IPS) Element and thus help assist in making informed decisions at program milestones (MS) and/or other key decision points.

ILAs are a critical resource for PSMs to carry out their 10 USC 4324 responsibilities to develop, update, and implement a Life Cycle Sustainment Plan (LCSP). The ILA is also a required annex to the LCSP for covered systems.

The DoD Independent Logistics Assessment (ILA) Guidebook provides a structure for conducting ILAs and helps Components establish baseline assessment criteria specific to their weapon systems. ILAs should be performed prior to MS B and C, and prior to the Full Rate Production (FRP) decision. Service Components may also direct the accomplishment of ILAs for Post-IOC reviews. The DoD ILA Guidebook provides targeted phase-specific questions to be used to measure program development progress and/or gaps, including a set of Post-IOC questions in Appendix A (for use at Component discretion). The outcome of ILAs help ensure there is adequate supportability planning, management, resource identification, and risk mitigation for each program at different phases of its life cycle. 

As part of the ILA, statutory, regulatory, and Component required documentation is reviewed and assessed for completeness and compliance prior to the MS decision. The focus is on whether the program planning and methodology has been adequate and can be successfully executed. Conducting an ILA early in the program life cycle, where the design can be influenced, and re-assessing the planning at each MS and periodically thereafter as the design matures, is critical to fielding a sustainable system. It also provides senior decision makers with actionable information for making strategic trades within and across various programs, especially as today's major defense acquisition programs are becoming increasingly complex and integrated with other systems. The issues that are commonly identified and may have significant cost impacts have to do with incomplete or insufficient analysis, or results that suggest the program will not be able to achieve planned supportability thresholds. Findings from the ILA are intended to help the program in a positive manner, identifying issues that may need more senior-level attention to correct.

Procedures for execution of the ILA is at the discretion of the Components, and each Component may develop their own implementing processes and guidance to meet their unique requirements. During acquisition there are several other assessments, reviews, and test events between milestones, such as the Systems Engineering Technical Reviews (SETRs) and Integrated Acquisition Portfolio Reviews (IAPRs), which also feed into MS decisions. Outputs from these other assessments and reviews should serve as inputs into ILAs, since information from these events can complement the ILA and provide valuable information for use by the assessment team.

Service-Specific Information

The individual military Services have established their own policies and/or methodologies for the implementation of ILAs. The Service's primary ILA-related policies and guidance documents include the following:

  • Department of the Army - DA PAM 700-28 Independent Logistics Assessments (ILA). This pamphlet provides a standard framework for assessing the status and/or health of the logistics program in preparation for key milestone decision reviews in the materiel acquisition process and provides guidance for the uniform execution of ILA across all commodity types thereby reducing subjectivity in the process. The Army's guidance is to be applied to any Acquisition Category (ACAT) program, but clarifies that each ILA criterion should be carefully tailored to individual program requirements.
  • Department of the Navy (DoN) (US Navy and USMC) - SECNAVINST 4105.1D Independent Logistics Assessment and Certification Requirements and the NAVSO P-3692 ILA Handbook. (Note: the DoN ILA Handbook is anticipated to be updated or replaced as the Navy aligns its guidance to the newly revised DoD ILA Guidebook.) The current handbook is similar to the DoD-level ILA Guidebook, and contains lists of detailed ILA criterion pertinent to each acquisition phase. The Navy has also recently published OPNAVINST 5450.343Ab (link not yet available) to provide additional guidance.  Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) also published a policy letter governing their ILAs.
  • Department of the Air Force (USAF and USSF) Department of the Air Force Instruction (DAFI) 63-101/20-101 Integrated Life Cycle Management, leverages the DoD ILA Guidebook for criteria and process recommendations.  It directs Program Executive Officers (PEOs) to tailor ILAs to program requirements and to charter ILA teams. 

For training on ILAs, DAU provides a self-paced online training course LOG 0160 Independent Logistics Assessment (ILA).