Mapping the U.S. DOD Acquisition Ecosystem

Dive deep into the defense acquisition process and the defense industrial base in this new one-day course.

At a Glance

Course Date

May 29, 2024


CSIS Headquarters or Virtual



Registration Deadline

May 21, 2024


Join the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group (DIIG) and Executive Education for a one-day course that provides an overview of the U.S. Department of Defense acquisition process, including setting requirements, securing funding for new capabilities, and contracting for systems. The course will also touch on timely topics including international defense industrial cooperation, the defense industrial base, innovation and the new National Defense Industrial Strategy (NDIS). Formal training on defense acquisition often focuses on the development of skills on the way to formal defense acquisition workforce certification. This training is less accessible and less salient to the broader DC policy community including foreign partners, industry executives, and policy analysts, who are looking for a summary overview of defense acquisition and insight into issues and terminology. Our goal is to provide this introduction and help explain the complexities of doing business with the Department of Defense. 



The first session will provide an overview of the course to give participants a broad foundation for the rest of the day. This session will enable participants to see the big picture before diving into each stage of the acquisition process: requirements, funding, and the pathways toward acquiring systems.

Setting Requirements

The second session will focus on the requirements process, which centers around the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS). The JCIDS process identifies what the warfighter needs, ranging from additional investments in existing systems to the new development of future capabilities. This process connects strategic goals to the systems that provide those in the field with the tools to accomplish their objectives. 

Getting Money

The third session will cover the funding stage of acquisition: the Planning, Programing, Budget, and Execution (PPBE) process. This session will include the different types of DoD funding, how the DoD recognizes competing priorities for funding, the historical evolution of the PPBE process, and how the government tracks procurement spending. It will also cover the recent effort to modernize the PPBE process so it can continue to effectively deliver capability to the warfighter.

Acquiring Systems

The final session will outline how the government acquires and maintains capabilities through multiple pathways within the Adaptive Acquisition Framework. From fighter jets and aircraft carriers to software solutions and emerging technology, different capabilities fit different pathways. This session will cover those pathways in addition to regulations like FAR and DFAR, the organizational structure of the acquisition ecosystem, and the history of acquisition reform.

How to Register

The online application includes a short entry form, statement of interest, brief bio, and resume. Entries will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Please note that spaces are limited and the course may fill before the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered.


For more information on the course, please contact Halie Tolba, Learning and Development Coordinatorat

Cynthia Cook
Director, Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group and Senior Fellow, International Security Program
Gregory Sanders
Deputy Director and Fellow, Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group