Milestone Decision Authority (MDA)

The Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) is the designated individual with overall responsibility for a program. The MDA shall have the authority to approve entry of an acquisition program into the next phase of the acquisition process and shall be accountable for cost, schedule, and performance reporting to higher authority, including Congressional reporting.  (Source: DoDD 5000.01)

 MDA Level Likely Organization  ACAT Level
Defense Acquisition Executive (DAE) USD/AT&L ACAT ID and IAM
Component Acquisition Executive (CAE) or Service Acquisition Executive (SAE) ASA(ALT), ASN RDA, SAF/AQ or CAE of Defense Agency* ACAT IC, IAC, and II
Designated by CAE Program Executive Officers (PEOs) ACAT III or IV (Navy)

While head of DoD Component is default MDA for ACAT IC, IAC programs, they are usually delegated to CAE. See Table 1 in DoDI 5000.02 for further details.