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MIL-STD-881E - dated October 6, 2020

MIL-STD-881, revision E, is the Department of Defense Standard Practice for the development of Work Breakdown Structures for Defense Material Items. This Standard is used by all Department of Defense (DoD) Departments and Agencies and should be included as a contract requirement. It is mandatory for all programs subject to DoD Instruction 5000.02. The primary objective of this Standard is to achieve a consistent application of the work breakdown structure (WBS) for all programmatic needs (including performance, cost, schedule, risk, budget, and contractual).

A WBS provides a consistent and visible framework for defense materiel items and contracts to accomplish a program. The Standard provides a common definition and consistent approach for developing all levels of the WBS. Generating and applying uniform work breakdown structures improves communication in the acquisition process. It also provides direction to industry and supporting government entities in extending their contract (industry or government entity executing an agreement equivalent to a contract) and Program (government) work breakdown structures.

The Standard provides the framework for DoD Program Managers to define their program's WBS and to defense contractors in their application and extension of the Program and contract's WBS to report additional details associated with their agreements with Government Program Managers. Section 1 defines and describes the WBS. Section 2 provides instructions on how the WBS is applied as well as how to develop a Program WBS in the pre-award timeframe. Section 3 provides direction for developing and implementing a Contract WBS and Section 4 examines the role of the WBS in the post-award timeframe.

The Standard also provides WBS definitions for specific defense materiel commodity systems in Appendices A through J. Appendix K addresses WBS elements that are common to all systems, as well as those which use unique elements (e.g., Space Systems, Information Systems/Defense Business Systems, Launch Systems, and Strategic Missile Systems). Appendix L provides the Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) Sustainment Cost Estimating Structure (CES) and its associated definitions for informational purposes.

Revision E includes updates to recent changes in DoD acquisition documents including the DoDI 5000.02T (Transition) and DoDD 5000.01. It also includes a new appendix and other content related to Government System Test and Evaluation (ST&E) work breakdown structures for commodity items listed in Appendices A through J.

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