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Got to thinking about just how serious DoD has been in its pursuit of Life Cycle Management (LCM) in recent years. This is not lip-service.  Clearly articulated through a series of comprehensive…

Serious Business


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Bill Kobren

Got to thinking about just how serious DoD has been in its pursuit of Life Cycle Management (LCM) in recent years. This is not lip-service.  Clearly articulated through a series of comprehensive and interrelated life cycle management initiatives, policies, and guidance the department has systematically articulated its commitment to driving life cycle systems management forward and more closely align acquisition and sustainment, including:


  • Clear and unequivocal commitment to the principle in DoD Directive 5000.01 The Defense Acquisition System which states “the PM shall be the single point of accountability for accomplishment of program objectives for total life cycle systems management, including sustainment” (Para E1.29.)

·         Issuance of two seminal guidebooks addressing performance, reliability, and affordability, namely the October 2003 “Designing and Assessing Supportability in DoD Weapon Systems: A Guide to Increased Reliability and Reduced Logistics Footprint and the March 2005 “Performance Based Logistics: A Program Manager's Product Support Guide

·         Establishment of key “Life Cycle Sustainment Outcome Metrics” (including Availability KPP, and Reliability & Cost KSAs) in March 2007 which institutionalize the design, management and sustainment of critical Materiel Readiness outcomes throughout the life cycle

·         Transformation of the former Acquisition Logistics career field into a unified Life Cycle Logistics career field, career path, and training through the incorporation of product support and sustainment personnel, learning assets, and new workforce certification requirements over the last seven years

·         Reengineered life cycle logistics competencies from the 2008 DoD Logistics Human Capital Strategy embedded DAWIA certification training

·         Deployment of comprehensive multi-service Independent Logistics Assessment (ILA) and integrated Air Force Acquisition Sustainment Toolkit and Logistics Health Assessment (LHA) processes, tools, and references

·         Greatly enhanced emphasis on outcome-based product support strategies, supportability analysis, and RAM through intentional alignment of Defense Acquisition Guidebook Systems Engineering and Life Cycle Logistics Chapters 4 and 5 respectively

·         Publication in June 2009 of a comprehensive DoD Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, and Cost (RAM-C) Rationale Report Manual to help DoD “acquire reliable and maintainable products that are of high quality, readily available, and able to satisfy user needs with measurable improvements to mission capability and operational support, in a timely manner, and at a fair and reasonable price.

·         Issuance and aggressive implementation of recommendations from the wide-ranging November 2009 Weapon System Acquisition Reform: Product Support Assessment report, including new training courses, tools, references, resources, and guidebooks focused on the PSM, Business Case Analysis, Independent Logistics Assessments, Integrated Product Support Elements, and Post-Initial Operational Capability Sustainment Reviews, among others.

·         Creation of a new sustainment governance structure in an April 5, 2010 USD(AT&L) policy memo entitledStrengthened Sustainment Governance for Acquisition Program Reviews”

·         Establishment of Product Support Manager (PSM) in the October 2010 Directive-Type Memorandum (DTM) 10-015 “Requirements for Life Cycle Management and Product Support

·         Transformation of the traditional ten Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) Elements into twelve comprehensive Integrated Product Support (IPS) Elements spanning the system life cycle as part of the new Product Support Manager’s (PSM) Guidebook, which is expected to be issued by the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Materiel Readiness in the coming weeks.

·         And the list goes on. Bottom line: DoD is serious about this Life Cycle Management concept and construct. If you’re not on board, encourage you to do so. Familiarize yourself with these references and commit yourself to both the successful implementation of life cycle management in your organization -- and the removal of artificial and costly barriers still standing between the traditional acquisition and sustainment communities.


As a side note, for the purposes of this discussion, if we assume the terms life cycle management, total life cycle systems management, and life cycle systems management are synonymous and can be used interchangeably, then the Manual for the Operation of the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) definition Life Cycle Management as “the implementation, management, and oversight, by the designated Program Manager (PM), of all activities associated with the acquisition, development, production, fielding, sustainment, and disposal of a DOD system across its life cycle” makes even more sense, particularly when viewed in conjunction with this comprehensive list of DoD policies, processes, guidance, and initiatives.