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  2. Life Cycle Logistics (LCL) Functional Area

Life Cycle Logistics (LCL) Functional Area

ALCL 064


Alternate Definition

Defense Acquisition Workforce (DAW) Functional Community responsible for translating force provider capability and performance requirements into tailored product support to achieve specified and evolving life cycle product support availability, reliability, and affordability parameters. Includes life cycle sustainment planning and execution, seamlessly spanning a system's entire life cycle, from Materiel Solution Analysis (MSA) to disposal, as well as across each of the six Adaptive Acquisition Framework (AAF) pathways.

General Information


Title 10 USC 1721 mandates that “the Secretary of Defense shall designate in regulations those positions in the Department of Defense that are acquisition positions for purposes of this chapter”, establishing required positions and mandating that “the Secretary shall include, at a minimum, all acquisition-related positions in the following areas: (to include)…(5) Logistics”. (See Key DAW Statutes for additional statutory information.)

The LCL career field spans the system life cycle from requirements generation to system retirement, reclamation, demilitarization or materiel disposition. Encompassing both acquisition and sustainment responsibilities, the career field includes logistics professionals responsible for planning, developing, implementing, and managing effective and affordable weapons, materiel, or information systems’ product support strategies. Details are available in the Defense Acqusition Workforce PCD for the LCL Functional Area. As members of the DAW, Life cycle logisticians must meet DAW Improvement Act (DAWIA) position coding Foundational Tier and Advanced Tier training, experience, and education certification requirements

Life cycle logisticians support the Program Manager (PM)'s requirement to fulfill  life cycle management responsibilities as outlined in DoD Directive 5000.01, Para 1.2.m .  They perform a critical role in ensuring that Product Support Strategies (PSS) meet program goals for operational effectiveness and readiness; ensure that supportability requirements are addressed consistently with cost, schedule, and performance; ensure that supportability considerations are implemented during system design; meet key product support and sustainment metrics and life cycle sustainment outcome metrics including system Materiel Availability (Am), Reliability (R), Operating and Support (O&S) cost, and Mean Down Time (MDT) requirements; and deliver optimal life cycle product support. 

To be successful, life cycle logisticians must be proficient across the 12 Integrated Product Support (IPS) Elements: (1) Product Support Management; (2) Supply Support; (3) Packaging, Handling, Storage & Transportation (PHS&T); (4) Maintenance Planning & Management; (5) Design Interface; (6) Sustaining Engineering; (7) Technical Data (TD); (8) Information Technology (IT) Systems Continuous Support; (9) Facilities & Infrastructure; (10), Manpower & Personnel; (11) Support Equipment; and (12) Training & Training Support. Details on each of the IPS Elements can be found in DoD Product Support Manager’s (PSM) Guidebook (Appendix A), the DoD IPS Element Guidebook, and ACQuipedia articles for each of the elements (each entitled “Integrated Product Support (IPS) Element – Element Name”).

Key DAW metrics and demographic information, including for the LCL community, can be found on the OUSD(A&S) Human Capital Initiatives (HCI) Workforce Metrics website.


The genesis of today’s LCL DAW Functional Community came from what at one time was called the “Acquisition Logistics” career field. This changed in March 2003 when the career field Functional Leader (at the time called “Functional Advisor”), the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Logistics Plans & Programs issued a memo entitled “Functional Advisor (FA) Annual Certification Report”. This memo stated in part stated the career field “position category description no longer is restricted to the Acquisition Logistics career field, but has broadened in scope to encompass the Life Cycle Logistics career field.” The direction was subsequently expanded in a April 26, 2004 “LCL Workforce Changes" memo in which the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Logistics Plans & Programs (ASD(LP&P)) stated, “in March 2003, the Deputy Director, Defense Procurement & Acquisition Policy  (Acquisition Workforce & Career Management) approved a change to the former Acquisition Logistics Career Field making it the Life Cycle Logistics Career Field. This policy provided a Position Category Description that identified two career paths: acquisition logistics and systems sustainment management. Continued evolution of acquisition and logistics transformation, together with the reengineering of the DAU logistics curriculum, make it appropriate to move to a unified Life Cycle Logistics Career Field, Career Path, and Training.” The current life cycle logsitics position category description is available from the DAU iCatalog. Additional information on the transition and history of the LCL career field is also available in a May-June 2014 Defense AT&L Magazine article entitled “The Defense Life-Cycle Logistics Journey: A 10-Year Retrospective of Product Support Transformation.” 


Life cycle logisticians pursue two primary objectives: to see that weapon systems are designed, maintained, and modified to reduce the demand for logistics and to ensure effective and efficient product support. The resources required for product support must be minimized while meeting warfighter needs and guaranteeing long-term materiel readiness. Life cycle logisticians achieve these objectives by ensuring integration across the 12 IPS Elements to maximize supportability, suitability, reliability, availability, maintainability, and mission effectiveness, while helping ensure affordability of the system at all stages its life cycle. They influence system design and provide effective, timely product support capabilities that drive effective, best-value product support planning and execution. In addition to key activities such as IPS planning and product support and sustainment strategy development and execution, much of the life cycle logistician’s responsibilities also includes joint responsibility with their systems engineering counterparts on influencing design for supportability, Configuration Management (CM), reliability and maintainability analysis, TD/product data management, and supportability analysis. In summary, key LCL objectives include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Design for & Develop Support – traditional acquisition logistics activities such as:
    • Assist warfighter community refine their product support requirements
    • Influence product design for supportability
    • Develop & refine outcome based system product support strategy to meet warfighter system support requirements
    • Conduct required  Product Support Business Case Analysis (BCA)
    • Document and refine product support strategy in system Life Cycle Sustainment Plan (LCSP)
    • Establish the support system
    • Identify the support
    • Advocate the best design alternative
    • Influence detailed design, including reliability, availability, maintainability and supportability of the product/system
    • Support Interdisciplinary Integrated Product Teams (IPT)
    • Foster Test and Evaluation (T&E) of support system
    • Minimize Life Cycle Costs (LCC)
    • Acquire the IPS
  • Support the Design – traditional sustainment activities such as:
    • Deploy system (includes support infrastructure)
    • Implement, refine and update LCSP
    • Maintain readiness
    • Improve sustainability
    • Provide the support to the user
    • Improve the system and its support
    • Modify and upgrade system capabilities
    • Minimize life cycle costs (LCC)
    • Proactively mitigate obsolescence and Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Materiel Shortages (DMSMS) IAW DoD Instruction 4245.15
    • Plan for eventual system retirement & disposal
    • Assist in replace or retain decisions, and execute Replaced System Support Plan as outlined in DoD Instruction (DoDI) 5000.02, Operation of the Adaptive Acquisition Framework

Duties & Responsibilities

According to the PCD for the LCL Functional Community, general acquisition related duties include “the conceptualization, initiation, design, development, test, contracting, production, deployment, IPS, modification, and disposal of weapons and other systems, supplies, or services (including construction) to satisfy DoD needs, intended for use in, or in support of, military missions.” In addition, specific DAW workforce career field/ career path duties include:

  • Understand and successfully demonstrate the applicable competencies and proficiencies underlying the seven LC competency areas identified in the 2019 DoD Logistics Human Capital Strategy (LHCS). These competency areas include:
    • Design Influence
    • Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) Planning
    • Product Support and Sustainment
    • Supportability Analysis
    • Reliability and maintainability analysis 
    • CM
    • TD/Product Data Management).
  • Plan, develop, implement and manage effective and affordable PSS throughout the life cycle for weapons, materiel, or information systems, as addressed in the DoD5000- series.
  • Perform a principal joint and/or Component logistics supportability role during the acquisition and sustainment phases of the system life cycle.
  • Develop and implement outcome-based PSS strategies that optimize readiness and LCC affordability.
  • Deliver logistics products and services to sustain system operational readiness.
  • Develop and document the PSS in a Life Cycle Sustainment Plan (LCSP), which describes efforts to ensure the system’s design, as well as the development of the product support package, are integrated and contribute to achieving life cycle sustainment outcome metrics.


Life cycle logisticians can work directly in a Program Management Office (PMO), in support of (or as) the PSM and PM, or in other logistics activities and organizations providing support and sustainment. According to the Life Cycle Logistics PCD, typical line and staff position titles include the PSM, ILS Manager, Logistics Element Manager (LEM), Logistics Management Specialist, Logistics Engineer, Weapon Systems Manager, Supply Specialist, Supply Chain Manager, Equipment Specialist, Maintenance Manager, and Transportation Management Specialist. Typical position locations include acquisition organizations within the DoD Components (e.g., Systems, Logistics and/or Materiel Commands, Direct Reporting Program Managers (DRPMs), Program Executive Office (PEO), as well as organizations/field activities directly supporting such organizations. Other DoD Components, Agencies and OSD/Service/Headquarter's staff elements performing/supporting acquisition related functions, such as: logistics centers, life cycle management centers, inventory control points, logistics readiness centers, warfare centers, etc. as appropriate.

Product Support Managers (PSM)

In addition, DAWIA Advanced Tier-certified life cycle logisticians can also serve as a PSM, with statutory responsibilities for covered systems outlined in 10 U.S.C. 4324 to:

  • Develop, update, and implement a life cycle sustainment plan
  • Ensure the life cycle sustainment plan is informed by appropriate predictive analysis and modeling tools that can improve material availability and reliability, increase operational availability rates, and reduce operation and sustainment costs;
  • Conduct appropriate cost analyses to validate the product support strategy and life cycle sustainment plan, including cost-benefit analyses as outlined in Office of Management and Budget Circular A–94;
  • Ensure achievement of desired product support outcomes through development and implementation of appropriate product support arrangements;
  • Adjust performance requirements and resource allocations across product support integrators and product support providers as necessary to optimize implementation of the product support strategy;
  • Periodically review product support arrangements between the product support integrators and product support providers to ensure the arrangements are consistent with the overall product support strategy;
  • Prior to each change in the product support strategy or every five years, whichever occurs first, revalidate any business-case analysis performed in support of the product support strategy;
  • Ensure that the product support strategy maximizes small business participation at the appropriate tiers; and
  • Ensure that product support arrangements for the covered system describe how such arrangements will ensure efficient procurement, management, and allocation of Government-owned parts inventories in order to prevent unnecessary procurements of such parts.

According to DoD Instruction 5000.91, "all covered systems and ACAT II programs will be supported by a PSM, no later than at program initiation, throughout the life of the system. IAW DoDI 5000.80, all programs using the middle tier of acquisition (MTA) pathway will also be assigned a PSM. Assignment of a PSM is encouraged for all other programs." Other duties include:

  • Providing weapon systems product support expertise to the program manager (PM) for the execution of the PM’s DoD Instruction 5000.91 duties as "the single point of accountability for DoD systems support and total life cycle systems management for all programs"
  • Responsibility "to the PM for life cycle product support. The PSM supports the PM in the development of a performance-based life cycle PSS required for all covered systems in the defense acqusition system, IAW DoDD 5000.01 and DoDI 5000.02."
  • Implementation of the product support strategy (PSS) via the Life Cycle Sustainment Plan (LCSP) through arrangements with various public and/or commercial PSIs and/or PSPs
  • Use product support analysis data, as described in Paragraph 4.4. of DoDI 5000.91, to support the PS Business Case Analysis (BCA) (per Paragraph 4.5. of DoDI 5000.91), PSS, and LCSP.
  • Conduct a PS BCA to assess courses of action being considered and document the recommended course of action in the LCSP that achieves readiness goals, manages risks, and is cost-effective.
  • Collaborate with users, systems engineers, cost analysts, and other stakeholders to develop risks and assumptions unique to the systems.
  • Review and update the LCSP as necessary, following approval or revalidation of the PS BCA and before sustainment reviews (SRs) are conducted, to incorporate program bed-down plans through retirement and disposal of the system, and other updates as warranted.
  • Develop and implement an effective performance-based life cycle PSS (synonymous with performance-based logistics strategy) that will deliver an integrated and affordable product support solution designed to optimize system readiness for the warfighter.
  • Use RAM and O&S cost metrics to conduct analyses to develop cost targets and develop strategies for providing product support at an affordable cost.
  • Coordinate with the requirements developers to influence RAM and O&S metrics during requirements development. 
  • Track metrics through the initial contract and system development process, and once the program transitions from development to production or sustainment, track and incentivize Product Support Integrators' (PSIs) and Product Support Providers' (PSPs) performance against these and other operational sustainment metrics.
  • Meet other responsibilities outlined in Para 4 of DoDI 5000.91,  the DoD PSM Guidebook, and other key DoD guidebooks.

Per para 4.1.e. of DoD Instruction 5000.91, "PSMs will: (1) Be a part of the life cycle logistics functional workforce, meet all LCL certification and training requirements, and be a Military Service member or DoD civilian employee. (2) Report to and provide system product support subject matter expertise to the PM for the development, implementation, and execution of the system’s PSS. (3) Perform the functions set forth in Section 4324 (c)(2) of Title 10, U.S.C., for covered systems. (4) Develop, update, and implement a detailed LCSP. (5) Conduct life cycle logistics management and product support activities for the AAF pathways IAW DoDD 5000.01 and DoDI 5000.02. (6) Collaborate with the chief engineer and systems engineers to provide sufficient program supportability and cost data and analysis to the PM, CAE, and USD(A&S) to enable effective operation, management, and tracking of reliability, availability, and maintainability (RAM) and operating and support (O&S) costs. All cost estimates and analysis will be completed IAW DoDI 5000.73."


DAU life cycle logsitics faculty team has crafted a comprehensive, competency-based, life-cycle focused, multi-disciplinary learning asset portfolio designed with the life cycle logistics practitioner, in mind. As of early 2023, this portfolio now (or soon will) includes:

Additionally, DAU also offers workforce members access to a range of related references and supporting resources including:


Thus, both life cycle logisticians and PSMs are ultimately responsible for designing, developing, implementing, and sustaining tailored life cycle product support that optimizes affordability, materiel readiness, and joint warfighter requirements, thereby providing the Nation an enduring strategic advantage over its adversaries. The resources required to provide product support must be minimized while still meeting warfighter requirements. Or put another way: affordably achieving the optimal mix of system readiness and availability at the lowest life cycle cost.