The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD(AT&L)) has policy and procedural authority for the defense acquisition system, is the principal acquisition official of the department, and is the acquisition advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Defense (SECDEF). In this capacity the USD(AT&L) serves as the Defense Acquisition Executive (DAE), the Defense Senior Procurement Executive (SPE), and the National Armaments Director (NAD), the last regarding matters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

For acquisition matters, the USD(AT&L) takes precedence over the secretaries of the military departments after the SECDEF and Deputy Secretary of Defense (DEPSECDEF). The USD(AT&L) authority ranges from directing the Services and defense agencies on acquisition matters, to overseeing the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), and making milestone decisions for Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs) and Major Automated Information Systems (MAIS).

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