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The Department of Defense (DoD) requires review of Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPS) and decisions by senior officials on the basis of a program's dollar value, irrespective of risk. The authors of this paper propose a new paradigm in which the level of management and oversight would be based on the level of risk a program represents, including technical, system integration, design, production, and business innovation risk. The authors also examine the extent to which DoD is prepared to assess these categories of risk, and identifies descriptive levels that could be used to assess and categorize design and business process risk.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). Th e research was conducted in 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.

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