Assessing the Use of Data Analytics in Department of Defense Acquisition
Aug 13, 2019
Congress asked six questions about the extent of, and opportunities to improve, data collection and analytic capabilities in the U.S. Department of Defense to inform acquisition decisions. This report identifies and measures extensive capabilities and recent progress in following commercial best practices. However, barriers to improvement include a culture against data sharing because of concerns about security and oversight burden.
|PDF file||19.5 MB||
Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.
|Add to Cart||Paperback170 pages||$49.95||$39.96 20% Web Discount|
In the conference report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, Congress expressed concern that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) "does not sufficiently incorporate data into its acquisition-related learning and decision-making" and asked six questions about "the use of data analysis, measurement, and other evaluation-related methods in DoD acquisition programs." In this report, the authors decompose and measure acquisition functions, data governance, and training to assess how data and associated analytics support DoD acquisition decisionmaking.
The authors found that the DoD is applying a breadth of data analytics to acquisition. Capabilities range from simple data archives and plotting to archives integrated with commercial analytic tools. The DoD has implemented an array of data governance and management practices, but major challenges remain, including a culture against data sharing and concerns about security and oversight burden.
Some commercial breakthroughs in advanced analytics sound promising for DoD acquisition, but some might not be applicable; research is ongoing. Advancement should include developing a data analytics strategy across acquisition domains, expanding data governance and data sharing, and continuing to expand and mature data collection, access, and analytic layers. Also, mechanisms are needed to authorize and ensure protected access to data for both the DoD and external analysts. Improved incentives and understanding of data analytics could encourage decisionmakers to make better use of capabilities.
Approach and Methodology
Findings on Congressional Questions
This research was sponsored by the Director, Acquisition Analytics and Policy, within the OUSD(A&S) and conducted within the Acquisition and Technology Policy Center of 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.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.