Capability (glossary)

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(1) The ability to achieve a desired effect under specified (performance) standards and conditions through combinations of ways and means (activities and resources) to perform a set of activities. (DoD 2009)

(2) The ability to execute a specified course of action. It is defined by a user and expressed in non-equipment based operational terms. (MOD 2004)

(3) The ability to execute a specified course of action. A capability may or may not be accompanied by an intention. (DoD 2009)

(4) The ability to perform a function, task, or action. (Created for SEBoK)


(1) DoD. 2009. DoD Architecture Framework (DoDAF), version 2.0. Washington, DC, USA: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

(2) MOD. 2004. Ministry of Defence Architecture Framework (MODAF), version 2. London, UK: U.K. Ministry of Defence.

(3) DoD. 2009. Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Washington, DC, USA: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Joint Publication 1-02, 17 March 2009.

(4) This definition was developed for the SEBoK.


In MODAF, the term capability refers to military capability, which includes all defense lines of development (DLODs), rather than equipment capability, which refers solely to the capability of the equipment, system, or system of systems. Sometimes it is necessary to differentiate between a required capability (i.e., what is sought) and the fielded capability (i.e., the currently available capability that consists of equipment and the supporting DLODs).

SEBoK v. 1.9.1 released 30 September 2018

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