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The Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) is
|“||designed to permit the agency to choose both the best technical solution and the best acquisition solution for its need. The analysis of technical options focuses on 'architectural' choices, distinguishing among software products. One key decision of this analysis is the choice between using commercial software as is, customizing it, or developing new software from scratch. . . . The analysis of acquisition options includes both non-contractual (e.g., sharing with another agency) and contractual choices.||”|
|“|| [a]n analytical comparison or evaluation of proposed approaches to meet an objective. An analysis of alternatives can be applied to anything—from a large military acquisition decision to a decision between two products. The formal or informal process involves identifying key decision factors, such as life cycle operations, support, training, and sustainment costs, risk, effectiveness, and assessing each alternative with respect to these factors.
An analysis of alternatives is an analytical comparison of the operational effectiveness, cost, and risks of proposed materiel solutions to gaps and shortfalls in operational capability. Such analyses document the rationale for identifying/recommending a preferred solution or solutions to the identified shortfall. Threat changes, deficiencies, obsolescence of existing systems, or advances in technology can trigger an analysis of alternatives.