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Defense acquisition is one of the most urgent issues that the Department of Defense faces today. In an effort to provide the department and the nation with guidance on defense acquisition challenges in several areas likely to be of critical importance to defense acquisition leadership, the authors have compiled in this monograph six previously published RAND papers that offer thought-provoking suggestions based on decades of research, new quantitative assessments, a RAND-developed cost-analysis methodology, and the expertise of core research staff. They present detailed proposals to improve defense acquisition through initiatives focused on competition, novel systems, risk management, organizational factors, prototyping, and the acquisition workforce.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Determining When Competition Is a Reasonable Strategy for the Production Phase of Defense Acquisition

  • Chapter Two

    Untying Gulliver: Taking Risks to Acquire Novel Weapon Systems

  • Chapter Three

    Dollar Value and Risk Levels: Changing How Weapon System Programs Are Managed

  • Chapter Four

    Improving Acquisition Outcomes: Organizational and Management Issues

  • Chapter Five

    On Prototyping: Lessons from RAND Research

  • Chapter Six

    Shining a Spotlight on the Defense Acquisition Workforce — Again

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted within the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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