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.

Https

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.

Breadcrumb

  1. Home
  2. Performance Attributes

Performance Attributes

ARQM 029

DAU GLOSSARY DEFINITION

​A characteristic or inherent part of a required system that is needed by the system to achieve satisfactory performance.

Alternate Definition

Capability: the ability to complete a task or execute a course of action under specified conditions and level of performance. Attribute: a quantitative or qualitative characteristic of an element or its actions. Key Performance Parameter (KPP): the minimum attribute or characteristic considered most essential for an effective military capability; a performance attribute of a system considered critical or essential to the development of an effective military capability. Key System Attribute (KSA): a performance attribute of a system considered important to achieving a balanced solution/approach to a system, but not critical enough to be designated as a KPP. Additional Performance Attribute (APA): a performance attribute of a system not important enough to be considered a KPP or KSA, but still appropriate to include in the Capability Development Document (CDD). Threshold/Threshold Value: the minimum performance required to achieve the required operational effect, while being achievable through the current state of technology at an affordable life cycle cost. Performance below the threshold value is not operationally effective or suitable or may not provide an improvement over current capabilities. Objective/Objective Value: the value of an attribute that is applicable when a higher level of performance delivers significant increased operational effect, or decreased operational risk, if it can be delivered at an affordable life cycle cost. The objective value is the desired operational goal that is achievable but at a higher risk in life cycle cost, schedule, and technology.

General Information

Overview:

Performance attributes (i.e., KPPs, KSAs, and APAs) are critical in the development of effective military capabilities. Identified in CDDs, these attributes and their parameters form the requirements foundation of the proposed new materiel solution. KPPs are core performance parameters that capture the essential functionality of the system and represent the major cost drivers of the program. KPPs are so critical that a failure to meet a KPP threshold would bring the military utility of the system into question and result in program reevaluation and potential cancellation. Other important performance attributes can be assigned as KSAs or APAs.

Sponsors determine the performance attributes that are most critical or essential to the proposed new materiel solution. The number of attributes should be kept to the minimum necessary to properly define essential system characteristics and performance. Performance attribute values become more refined throughout the requirements and acquisition processes as a better understanding of the achievable solutions are developed. The performance attributes must be measurable, testable, and support efficient and effective Test and Evaluation (T&E).

Detail:

Capability requirements and associated capability gaps are identified through the conduct of a Capabilities Based Assessment (CBA) or similar study. The identified capability requirements are described in the Initial Capabilities Document (ICD) in terms of the required operational attributes with appropriate quantitative parameters and metrics (e.g., outcomes, time, distance, effect, obstacles to be overcome, and supportability). The Sponsor identifies what measurable operational outcomes are required; what effects must be produced to achieve those outcomes; how they complement the integrated joint/multinational warfighting force; and what enabling capabilities are required to achieve the desired operational outcomes. The operational attributes are expressed as Measures of Effectiveness (MOEs) in conducting the mission rather than performance of a presumed capability solution and are system agnostic.

The Sponsor indicates the initial objective value for each operational attribute, which is the value necessary to achieve mission objectives with moderate operational risk. The intent is to provide a point value which satisfies the operational need for the capability, while serving as the starting point for analysis supporting capability requirement tradeoffs above and below the initial objective value.

The operational attributes identified in the ICD are mission-specific and inform the Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) to be conducted during the Materiel Solution Analysis (MSA) acquisition phase. One purpose of the MSA phase is to begin translating validated capability gaps into system-specific requirements, including the KPPs, KSAs, and APAs.

Each performance attribute is presented in terms of parameters needed to address the validated capability requirements with a threshold and objective value for each performance attribute. Each parameter reflects Measures of Performance (MOPs) for the system rather than MOEs in conducting the mission. The parameters most critical to mission effectiveness are captured as KPPs. The number of performance attributes should be kept to a minimum to maintain acquisition program flexibility. The performance attributes are documented in the draft CDD and are traceable to the operational attributes of the capability requirements defined in the ICD. This ensures that performance attributes are aligned to support the mission outcomes and associated desired effects. The draft CDD supports the Milestone A (Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) acquisition phase) decision and subsequent technology development.

Threshold values should be based upon the minimum performance required to achieve the required operational effect, while being achievable through the current state of technology at an affordable life cycle cost of the system. A different objective value is defined when an increased level of performance delivers significant increased operational effect, or decreased operational risk, if it can be delivered at an affordable life cycle cost of the system.

Incorporating knowledge gained during the TMRR phase of acquisition into the development performance attributes is essential to delivering an effective capability solution to the warfighter. The development threshold and objective values specified for the performance attributes in the CDD guide the acquisition community during the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) acquisition phase. The KPPs from the validated CDD are included verbatim in the Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) approved by the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) at Milestone B (EMD phase). Program goals consist of a threshold and objective value for each KPP and KSA parameter. The acquisition Program Manager has responsibility for managing the trade space between program objectives and thresholds within the bounds of cost, schedule, and performance.

The difference between the threshold value and the objective value provides trade space for balancing multiple performance attributes while remaining above the threshold values. During the EMD phase, the trade space allows the acquisition Program Manager to pursue different levels of performance given the available technology for the materiel solution. The acquisition Program Manager may incentivize the development contractor to optimize performance or weigh capability tradeoffs between development threshold and objective values. Not every performance attribute must have an objective value which differs from the threshold value, but providing trade space allows for greater program flexibility.

Summary:

Attributes which are critical to mission success should be identified as KPPs. System performance below the KPP threshold value is not operationally effective or suitable or may not provide an improvement over current capabilities. Therefore, failure of a system to meet a validated KPP threshold value triggers a review by the validation authority and evaluation of operational risk and/or military utility of the system if the threshold values are not met. The review may result in validation of an updated KPP threshold value, modification of production increments, or recommendation for program cancellation.