Acquisition Categories(ACAT)

Tags: Glossary

U.S. DoD ACAT programs are Milestone Decision Authority programs or programs designated by the Milestone Decision Authority.

What is Acquisition Categories(ACAT)?

Acquisition Categories (ACAT)

In the world of logistics, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has a system in place to categorize its acquisition programs. These categories are known as Acquisition Categories or ACAT. ACAT programs are either Milestone Decision Authority programs or programs designated by the Milestone Decision Authority.

The purpose of ACAT programs is to provide a framework for managing and overseeing the acquisition process of major defense systems and programs. These programs are typically large-scale and involve significant resources, both in terms of funding and personnel.

The categorization of ACAT programs is based on various factors, including the complexity, cost, and potential impact on national security. The DoD uses a tiered approach, with ACAT I being the highest category and ACAT IV being the lowest.

ACAT I programs are the most significant and high-profile programs within the DoD. These programs typically involve major weapon systems or platforms that have a significant impact on national security. Examples of ACAT I programs include the development of new fighter aircraft or the acquisition of a new aircraft carrier.

ACAT II programs are also significant but may not have the same level of complexity or impact as ACAT I programs. These programs often involve major upgrades or modifications to existing systems. An example of an ACAT II program could be the modernization of a fleet of tanks.

ACAT III programs are smaller in scale and typically involve the acquisition of individual components or subsystems. These programs may support larger ACAT I or ACAT II programs. For instance, the acquisition of a specific radar system for a fighter aircraft could be categorized as an ACAT III program.

ACAT IV programs are the least complex and involve the acquisition of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) items or non-major defense systems. These programs often have a lower cost and shorter acquisition timeline compared to higher category programs.

The categorization of ACAT programs is important as it determines the level of oversight and management required for each program. Higher category programs receive more scrutiny and require more extensive documentation, reviews, and approvals. This ensures that taxpayer funds are used efficiently and effectively, and that the acquired systems meet the necessary requirements and standards.

In conclusion, Acquisition Categories (ACAT) are a classification system used by the U.S. Department of Defense to categorize its acquisition programs based on factors such as complexity, cost, and national security impact. These categories help in managing and overseeing the acquisition process, ensuring that major defense systems and programs are acquired in a systematic and efficient manner.

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