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Initial Capabilities Document (ICD)


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Initial Capabilities Document (ICD)


A category of capability requirements documents that specifies one or more capability requirements and associated capability gaps that represent unacceptable operational risk if left unmitigated. It recommends partially or wholly mitigating identified capability gap(s) with a materiel capability solution, or some combination of materiel and non-materiel solutions. A validated ICD is an entrance criterion necessary for each Materiel Development Decision (MDD).

Alternate Definition

The ICD documents joint military capability requirements and associated capability gaps in cases where the Sponsor deems the operational risk of unmitigated capability gaps to be unacceptable. It summarizes any capability analysis (using a Capabilities-Based Assessment or other method) and provides traceability to the operational context, threats, and other relevant factors that determine the joint military capability requirements.

General Information

The ICD quantifies needed capability requirements and gaps associated with operational risks across the joint force. It also proposes materiel and/or non-materiel approaches to closing or mitigating some or all of those identified capability gaps. The ICD identifies these capability gaps in terms of the functional area, the relevant range of military operations, and the timeframe.

The ICD supports the Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) and the Milestone A decision of the Defense Acquisition Process. Once approved, the ICD is not updated. The format for the ICD is found in the Manual for the Operation of the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS Manual).