Preliminary Design Review / Critical Design Review Assessments

A Preliminary Design Review (PDR) assessment is an independent assessment that informs the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) of the technical risks and the program’s readiness to proceed into detailed design. A PDR assessment is required by statute for all Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs).

A Critical Design Review (CDR) assessment is an independent assessment that informs the MDA of the technical risks and the program’s readiness to proceed into fabrication, system integration, demonstration and test. A CDR assessment is required by policy.

PDR and CDR Assessment Content

The PDR and CDR assessments are composed of an executive summary that summarizes the key findings of the assessment, and the assessment report, which details the findings and provides the supporting data and analysis. The assessments are tailorable but normally consist of eight sections that discuss

  • system description
  • conduct of the review
  • performance
  • schedule
  • technical risks, issues and opportunities
  • establishment of the baseline
  • design considerations
  • conclusion

Additional detailed data and analysis are often attached as appendices to the assessment.

PDR and CDR Assessment Resources

10 US Code 2366b identifies the PDR statutory reporting requirements DoDI 5000.88 - Engineering of Defense Systems identifies the PDR and CDR Assessment reporting requirements.

USD(R&E)

DDR&E(AC)

Directorate of Defense Research and
Engineering for Advanced Capabilities
The Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301