Capability Systems Life Cycle Management Manual

1.1 A capability is the power to do something. In Defence it usually refers to the power to achieve a particular operational effect.

1.2 In a more formal sense a Defence capability can be defined as the power to achieve a desired operational effect in a nominated environment within a specified time and to sustain that effect for a designated period.

1.3 Capability is delivered by systems that have the following fundamental inputs:
a. people;
b. organisation;
c. doctrine;
d. collective training;
e. materiel, including major platforms, combat systems and supplies;
f. facilities;
g. through life support; and
h. command and management.

1.4 The systems viewpoint looks from the top down rather than the bottom up and it emphasises the need to consider a capability system as a connected whole and not as discrete parts. The essential theme is that of taking the whole system view during every phase of the life cycle to optimise the system rather than trying to optimise and then integrate inputs.

1.5 Capability systems have life cycles which begin with the identification of the need to reduce a current or prospective capability gap. This need is progressively translated into a working physical system which is operated and supported until it is withdrawn from service and disposed of. Capability must therefore be managed with both a system and life cycle perspective. The challenge of life cycle management is to bring into being a capability system that meets a specific requirement in the most cost-effective way.

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