Reconstituting a Production Capability

Past Experience, Restart Criteria and Suggested Policies

by John Birkler, Joseph P. Large, Giles K. Smith, Fred Timson


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This report evaluates the feasibility of restarting weapon system production lines in response to a resurgent major threat and suggests steps that might be taken at shutdown to ease restart. The cost and schedule advantages of restart relative to new-system production are quantified. Criteria are identified for deciding which systems ought to be regarded as candidates for restart, and the application of the criteria is illustrated. Other reconstitution options (e.g. maintaining “warm” production lines, excess production for stockpiling) are briefly reviewed.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Production-Restart Experience

  • Chapter Three

    Preparing for Production Restart: Smart Shutdown

  • Chapter Four

    Identifying Candidate Systems for Restart

  • Chapter Five

    Alternative Reconstruction Strategies

  • Chapter Six


  • Appendix A

    Army Munitions Startup Problems

  • Appendix B

    Production Restart of Naval Ships

  • Appendix C

    Historical Restart Cost-Estimating Methods

  • Appendix D

    Summary of Restart Schedules

  • Appendix E

    Restart Learning-Curve Analyses

  • Appendix F

    Regression Analyses

  • Appendix G

    Detailed Screening of Selected Systems

The research in the report was sponsored by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition. The research was conducted in the National Defense Research Institute, RAND’s federally funded research and development center supported by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff.

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