The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics defines an Urgent Operational Need (UON) as “a need prioritized by a combatant commander”…”requiring a solution that, if left unfilled, could result in the loss of life and/or prevent the successful completion of a near-term military mission.” Military departments may use their own terminology as an alternative name for a UON – examples include combat-mission need statement (CMNS), or urgent universal need statement (UUNS).[1]


A “JUON” refers to a Joint Urgent Operational Need, which is an urgent operational need identified by a combatant commander involved in an ongoing named operation. The primary purpose of a JUON is to obtain Joint Staff validation and resourcing for a solution—typically within days or weeks—to meet a specific, high-priority combatant commander need. JUONs pertain to urgent operational needs that “fall outside of the established Service processes” and, if not immediately addressed, will “seriously endanger personnel or pose a major threat to ongoing operations.” A JUON should not involve the development of a new technology or capability; however, the acceleration of an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration or a slight modification to an existing system is generally appropriate.[1]

Joint Urgent Operational Needs (JUONs) are posted on the SIPRNet, the DoD’s largest interoperable command and control data network. It supports the Global Command and Control System (GCCS), the Defense Message System (DMS), collaborative planning, and other classified warfighter applications.


A Universal Needs Statement (UNS) is defined by the US Marine Corps (USMC) as a document that “recommends a change, including the development of a new capability, an improvement to an existing capability, or the elimination of redundant or unneeded capabilities.”[2]


According to the USMC, an Urgent Universal Needs Statement (UUNS) is initiated in order to identify a mission-critical capability gap that requires a solution, and is endorsed via Service chains.[2] A UUNS serves to accelerate a UNS, which otherwise would take advantage of time to source a solution.[2]


Updated by Kristin Stiner, November 2023