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This report, drawing on more than 30 years of RAND research, evaluates past experience with defense development and production, identifies trends that will affect future acquisition activity, and recommends improvements in the acquisition process to meet future challenges. The findings indicate that, in terms of the three most generally accepted measures for judging the acquisition process — cost growth, schedule slippage, and functional performance shortfalls — there has been steady improvement in program outcomes over time. The authors present an integrated strategy for meeting the future force-modernization challenges: improve the requirement-formulation process, make early development more austere, separate critical subsystem development from platform development, encourage austere prototyping, improve the transition from full-scale development to production, focus more attention on upgrading fielded systems, and stimulate plant modernization and production flexibility.

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The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND's Project AIR FORCE.

This report is part of the RAND report series. The report was a product of RAND from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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