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Abstract

Why have the costs of acquiring space systems been so high? What are the sources of the problems? To answer these questions, RAND researchers examined the sources of cost growth of Air Force space systems and undertook an extensive study of two space systems — the Space Based Infrared System–High (SBIRS) and the Global Positioning System (GPS) — including an evaluation of their sources of cost growth, an assessment of their approaches to technical risk assessment, and an examination of their acquisition policy adaptations and industrial base environments. The researchers recommend independent program assessment for space systems that emphasizes technical and program factors, and a modified organizational structure that maintains cost analyst independence. They also summarize the cost estimating best practices of several other government organizations.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Analysis of the Magnitude and Sources of Cost Growth in the SBIRS-High and GPS Programs

  • Chapter Three

    Technical Risk Assessment Relating to Cost Estimation for SBIRS-High and GPS

  • Chapter Four

    Other Nontechnical SBIRS-High and GPS Contributing Factors

  • Chapter Five

    SMC Organization and Cost Analysis Workforce Assessment

  • Chapter Six

    Organizational Structure and Other Organizational Issues

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    RAND Questionnaire Used in Interviews with All SMC Major Program Offices, January 2006

  • Appendix B

    Findings from Other Interviews

  • Appendix C

    Summary of Programs Currently Managed at SMC

  • Appendix D

    Details of the SMC Cost Analyst Workload Model

  • Appendix D

    Space Systems Cost-Estimating Tools, Methods, and Data Assessment

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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