Cheaper, Faster, Better? Commercial Approaches to Weapons Acquisition

by Mark A. Lorell, Julia F. Lowell, Michael Kennedy, Hugh P. Levaux

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Civil-military integration (CMI) lies at the core of current DoD efforts to reduce the costs of procuring and maintaining modern weapon systems. Based on an analysis of the commercial aerospace industry and on the experiences of various acquisition reform pilot programs, the authors conclude that a commercial-like acquisition approach could benefit major Air Force acquisition programs. The Joint Strike Fighter would be an excellent candidate pilot program for application of acquisition reform measures during engineering and manufacturing development. The authors further recommend that future programs be structured to include greater risk-sharing between contractors and the government. The principal benefits of CMI for the acquisition reform pilot programs have come from the structuring and management of these programs to make them more like complex commercial product markets in which buyers and sellers establish and achieve price and performance targets in a cooperative environment. The real promise of CMI is to help insert the incentives for price discipline and high performance prevalent in the commercial marketplace into military R&D production.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

  • Summary

    Executive Summary

  • Figures

  • Tables

  • Summary

  • Acknowledgements

    Acknowledgments

  • Abbreviations

    Abbreviations and Acronyms

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Acquisition Reform and the Evolution of the U.S. Weapons Market

  • Chapter Three

    Commercial Technology Trends Relevant to Military Radars

  • Chapter Four

    Commercial Insertion and the Question of Weapon System Performance

  • Chapter Five

    Dual-Use Technologies: Implications for Cost, Schedule, and Contractor Configuration Control

  • Chapter Six

    Lessons from the Commercial Aerospace Market

  • Chapter Seven

    Pilot Programs: Lessons Learned

  • Chapter Eight

    Summary Conclusions

  • References

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This project was conducted in RAND's Project AIR FORCE.

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