The Arsenal Ship Acquisition Process Experience

Contrasting and Common Impressions from the Contractor Teams and Joint Program Office

by Robert S. Leonard, Jeffrey A. Drezner, Geoffrey Sommer


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The Arsenal Ship acquisition program was unique in two respects: it represented a new operational concept for Navy weapon systems, and its management structure and process represented a significant departure from traditional military ship-building programs. The Arsenal Ship program was, in effect, an experiment; while the Navy envisioned an array of mission capabilities for the ship, it set the project budget as the single immovable requirement. In the end, political and financial constraints caused the program's cancellation. Nevertheless, its acquisition approach and technical innovations have already had — and will continue to have — significant influence on other Navy ship-building programs. The lessons learned from the Arsenal Ship program, applied to existing and planned systems, should more than recover the money spent on it.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1


  • Chapter 2

    Arsenal Ship Program Overview

  • Chapter 3

    Arsenal Ship Acquisition Process

  • Chapter 4

    A Contrast of Acquisition Approaches

  • Chapter 5

    Acquisition Program and Process Impressions

  • Chapter 6

    Program Issues Resulting from the Acquisition Process

  • Chapter 7

    Observations and Conclusions

  • Appendix A

    Genesis of the Arsenal Ship Concept and Process

  • Appendix B

    Design Aspects of the Arsenal Ship Weapon System

  • Appendix C

    Schedule and Cost Comparison

  • Appendix D

    Arsenal Ship Capabilities Document

  • Appendix E

    Arsenal Ship Concept of Operations

  • Appendix F

    Joint Memorandum-Arsenal Ship Program

  • Appendix G

    Memorandum of Agreement-Joint Navy/DARPA Program

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