What is CALS


(CALS) Continuous Acquisition and Life-Cycle Support started in the defense sector but through the years the strategy is adopted in more sectors and the acronym CALS has been changed. Hereby a short introduction:

The reduction of military emphasis is best reflected in the latest definition of CALS: "Commerce at Light Speed". The focus of CALS is still the same: to ensure that systems can communicate together and thus facilitating re-use of Information by standardization of Information with the aim to increase time to market and decrease Life Cycle Costs.

Defined according its official source (MIL-HDBK-59 B 1994): "CALS is A US DoD and industry strategy to enable more effective generation, exchange, management and use of digital data supporting defense systems". The primary objective of the CALS strategy in the mid 1980's was "to migrate from manual, paper-intensive defense system operations to Integrated, highly automated acquisition and support processes".

CALS covers Functional standards, Data standards and Technical standards. These standards were partly international commercial standards and partly Military (DoD) standards, specifications and guidelines.

In CALS terms the Product Life-Cycle is divided in Acquisition, Production and Operational Logistics. Between the three phases an overlap exists, this overlap is underlined by the integrative aspect of CALS. The common tendency in the industry is more Integration between activities of the various phases for the entire Product Life-Cycle.

CALS Is closely related to Life-cycle Information Integration, supporting Development, Production and ILS together. It will create a shared Information environment wherein Information is shared freely across the disciplines and among the organizations involved in the business of the Enterprise.

Within the Life-Cycle of (weapon) systems, the Acquisition Logistics process identifies during the specification, definition and production phase of the equipment the support elements that will be required during the 'life' of the equipment. Integrated Logistic Support (ILS), Logistic Support Analysis (LSA), LSA Record (LSAR), Initial Provisioning and Technical Documentation are the basic elements of Acquisition Logistics, and are strongly related to Life-Cycle Information.

The public version of the NATO CALS handbook (draft 3, 2000) is available as free PDF download.


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