d. Critical Decisions.
The five Critical Decisions are major milestones approved by the Secretarial Acquisition Executive or Acquisition Executive that establish the mission need, recommended alternative, Acquisition Strategy, the Performance Baseline, and other essential elements required to ensure that the project meets applicable mission, design, security, and safety requirements. Each Critical Decision marks an increase in commitment of resources by the Department and requires successful completion of the preceding phase or Critical Decision. Collectively, the Critical Decisions affirm the following:
• There is a need that cannot be met through other than material means;
• The selected alternative and approach is the optimum solution;
• Definitive scope, schedule and cost baselines have been developed;
• The project is ready for implementation; and
• The project is ready for turnover or transition to operations.
The amount of time between decisions will vary. Projects may quickly proceed through the early Critical Decisions due to a lack of complexity, the presence of constraints that reduce available alternatives, or the absence of significant technology and developmental requirements. In these cases, more than one Critical Decision may be approved simultaneously. Conversely, there may be a need to split a Critical Decision.
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