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Increasingly, the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense as a whole are developing families of systems built around common components. To inform the Army's decisionmaking process surrounding commonality, RAND Arroyo Center was asked to assess the advantages and disadvantages of commonality and how to best manage their trade-offs. To do so, this report uses historical analysis, literature analyses, and case studies of commercial and military efforts to exploit commonality. It presents analyses of the effects of commonality on costs, capabilities, and training and offers a decisionmaking aid that designers, developers, and procurers, in particular, could use to inform their decisions about commonality. It concludes with recommendations for the Army.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    The Effects of Commonality on Operations

  • Chapter Three

    The Cost Effects of Commonality

  • Chapter Four

    The Effects of Commonality on Logistics

  • Chapter Five

    An Aid to Commonality Decisionmaking

  • Chapter Six


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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by the RAND Arroyo Center.

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