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Multiple studies have attempted to estimate the cost to major weapon system programs of complying with acquisition-related statutes and regulations. Most have investigated the cost of compliance only at the contractor level, though program offices, the Services, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense would also incur such costs. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics asked RAND to evaluate the cost of compliance with statutes and regulations at the program office level. RAND designed a study to identify areas in which compliance with acquisition-related legislation or regulations has led to an identifiable penalty, such as time lost, additional cost incurred, loss of system capability, additional demands on critical staff, or some other imposition on the program office. This report describes the study’s methodology, focus, and data collection process, including the development of a Web-based data collection tool for use by program office personnel. The study is designed to answer the following questions: Which statues and regulations are considered most burdensome at the program office level? How can the cost of such compliance be measured? How much of the cost of compliance can be attributed to these “burdensome” statutes and regulations? and What measures can be taken to reduce this burden?

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    A Review of Acquisition Reform Literature and History

  • Chapter Three

    Determining Our Research Focus

  • Chapter Four

    Developing and Testing a Tool to Quantify the Impact of Constraints at the Program Office Level

  • Chapter Five

    Research Summary and Next Steps

  • Appendix A

    User Manual for the Web-Based Tool

  • Appendix B

    Screen Shots of the Web-Based Tool

  • Appendix C

    Definitions and Descriptions of Activities Under the Five Areas

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in 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 Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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