Injecting Competition into the Joint Strike Fighter Program

Can a Winner-Take-All Environment Become More Competitive?

by John Birkler

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This research brief describes work documented in Assessing Competitive Strategies for the Joint Strike Fighter: Opportunities and Options (MR-1362-OSD/JSF).

Excerpt: The Department of Defense (DoD) should stick with its winner-take-all strategy to develop and produce the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) — which is slated to become the workhorse fighter for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. But as a hedge to ensure that later versions of this next-generation aircraft have the most effective and innovative radar, computer, and software technologies, the DoD should consider spending money to keep a second developer and producer of these vital electronics components in the market. An investment in a second source of such mission systems, the electronics eyes and ears of the JSF, could be relatively modest. But it would provide future decisionmakers with the option to competitively develop a next-generation mission system source when and if it were needed.

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