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Notwithstanding determined efforts during the 1960s to improve major system acquisitions, the typical program exhibited an average cost growth of about 40 percent, a schedule slip of about 15 percent, and 30 percent or 40 percent system performance deviation from original specifications. Cost growth could be anticipated by improving the cost estimation process and incorporating an assessment of the technical advance sought in the program. However, such an achievement would not greatly improve the acquisition process. Evidence from recent European programs and U.S. programs conducted outside the normal Department of Defense procedures supports the adoption of more fundamental changes. System acquisition policy should be flexible but based on incremental acquisition strategies as the normal approach for the 1970s. In particular, development should be separated from subsequent production, and the initial portion of development should concentrate on demonstrating system performance and be conducted in a highly austere fashion. (See also RM-6269.)

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