Cover: Measuring the Statutory and Regulatory Constraints on Department of Defense Acquisition

Measuring the Statutory and Regulatory Constraints on Department of Defense Acquisition

An Empirical Analysis

Published Jul 23, 2007

by Jeffrey A. Drezner, Irv Blickstein, Raj Raman, Megan McKernan, Monica Hertzman, Melissa A. Bradley, Dikla Gavrieli, Brent Eastwood


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Managers of weapon system acquisition programs and their staffs have often voiced concerns about the burden of complying with federal statutes or regulations requiring certain business and oversight processes. The essence of the concerns is that program offices spend an inordinate amount of time complying with statutes and regulations that add little value, and that the regulatory burden translates into cost increases, schedule delays, and adverse effects on system performance. While many other studies have addressed this topic, few have succeeded in generating the empirical evidence needed to inform the policy debate. To fill this gap, NDRI developed a Web-based data collection tool to capture the program staff’s estimates of hours spent on compliance efforts. A total of 316 individuals in seven DoD program offices were recruited to use the web tool to estimate biweekly the time they spent on regulatory compliance-related activities over the course of a year. While statutes and regulations do place constraints on program execution, the study found that program office staffs do not appear to spend a significant amount of their time complying with those statutes and regulations. Further, there is little evidence that program office compliance activities have adverse consequences for program outcomes.

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

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