Extreme Cost Growth
Oct 6, 2015
Controlling costs in Major Defense Acquisition Programs is essential to the overall affordability of Air Force modernization plans. A handful of ongoing and recently terminated programs account for substantially higher cost growth in recent Air Force programs compared with complete programs. Cost growth to date in four continuing large-dollar programs must be contained to ensure affordability of the Air Force's long-term investment plans.
Fiscal Year 2013 President's Budget Selected Acquisition Reports
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During the past four decades, the military services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) have managed hundreds of very large weapon system acquisition programs. These programs, designated Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs), account for more than 40 percent of weapon-system acquisition funding appropriated by Congress. RAND maintains an internal database of costs and schedules for these programs, as reported in Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) dating back to the 1960s.
In this report, researchers analyze cost growth in Air Force–managed MDAPs. Differing definitions of cost growth provide differing insights into program outcomes. The analysis focuses on those MDAPs that contain the highest levels of development activity and that, at a minimum, have proceeded through the acquisition process to a point at which a portion of the production units envisioned at the program's Milestone (MS) B were produced and delivered to the warfighter. These MDAPs are broken into two groups: continuing and complete.
Controlling costs in continuing MDAPs is essential to the overall affordability of Air Force modernization plans. A handful of ongoing and recently terminated programs account for substantially higher cost growth in recent Air Force programs compared with complete programs. Cost growth to date in four continuing large-dollar programs must be contained to ensure affordability of the Air Force's long-term investment plans.
Selected Acquisition Report Data and Analytics
Analysis of Major Defense Acquisition Programs with Substantial Air Force Funding
Findings for Major Defense Acquisition Programs with Substantial Air Force Funding
The research reported here was commissioned by the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition Integration, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, and conducted within the Resource Management Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.
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