The defense acquisition process is so complex and involves so many different organizations, laws, and regulations that comprehending the main points and flow of the process and the relationships among the players can be difficult, especially for non-acquisition personnel.

The Congressional Research Service’s (CRS) updated overview on how DoD acquires weapon systems may help you navigate through this maze.  This report does not provide a detailed cookbook approach to the acquisition process, but it is a good overview that can help resource managers and analysts more easily understand the defense acquisition process. 

The CRS report “Defense Acquisitions: How DOD Acquires Weapon Systems and Recent Efforts to Reform the Process” provides a description of the acquisition process with relevant charts and timelines. The report includes a history of the statutory and regulatory underpinnings of the defense acquisition process, the major components of the process with a timeline, a description of the organizational structure supporting the process, and definitions of important terms. 

The report also describes recent DoD acquisition reform efforts and legislation affecting defense acquisition passed between 2008 and the present.