Military Acquisition and Procurement

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Maintaining a military that is prepared to face uncertain future security challenges often requires the acquisition and procurement of new and technologically advanced equipment, which is a major expense for any nation. For decades, RAND has researched and evaluated military acquisition and procurement activities, providing essential recommendations to allow military decisionmakers to manage costs and streamline the acquisition process more effectively.

Explore Military Acquisition and Procurement

  • The USS Bonhomme Richard , left, and USS Green Bay docked at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, March 5, 2015, photo by Lt. David Levy/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    A Taiwan Contingency and Japan's Counterstrike Debate

    The United States and Japan could be drawn into a conflict in the event of Chinese aggression against Taiwan whether they like it or not. Allied defense planning could consider how Japan might further reinforce deterrence and if necessary improve its ability to contribute to the common defense.

    Jul 23, 2021

  • Spectators watch a Russian Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jet landing after a demonstration flight at the MAKS-2019 air show in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, Russia August 29, 2019, photo by Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters

    Report

    Defense Acquisition in Russia and China

    Russia and China have sought to modernize their legacy defense equipment while concurrently developing new and increasingly sophisticated systems. In which areas does each country excel and where do they have challenges?

    Jul 14, 2021

  • Image of a HAR2 Bell Griffin helicopter, seen here at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus on 4 July 2021 assisting with efforts to tackle wildfires across Cyprus, photo by Cpl Phil Dye/UK Ministry of Defence Crown Copyright

    Multimedia

    Expert Insights: Understanding the Value of Defence

    RAND Europe Defence, Security and Infrastructure director Ruth Harris and Research Leader James Black examine the ‘value proposition’ of UK defence in this audio conversation. They explore how the value it brings to the nation can be better articulated across government, to partners and to the wider public.

    Jul 13, 2021

  • Report

    Understanding the Value of Defence: Towards a Defence Value Proposition for the UK

    The UK Ministry of Defence asked RAND to develop a 'Defence Value Proposition' to provide a better understanding of why defence exists and how the value it brings to the nation can be better articulated to government, partners and the wider public.

    Jul 13, 2021

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    Report

    Challenges and barriers that limit the productivity and competitiveness of UK defence supply chains

    Small and medium-sized companies attempting to enter and operate in the UK's defence market face several barriers that can limit productivity of defence supply chains. Addressing these challenges is key to improving productivity and competitiveness.

    Jul 6, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Persistent Challenges in UK Defence Equipment Acquisition

    This paper identifies underlying and cross-cutting factors that contribute to seemingly intractable challenges in defence equipment acquisition programmes. It also discusses measures that could help address these inefficiencies going forward.

    Jun 23, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    The Army's Local Economic Effects: Appendix B, Volume 1: Alabama Through Minnesota; 2nd Edition

    This appendix to the second edition of The Army's Local Economic Effects describes overall economic effects by state, details by fiscal year from 2014 to 2017, and a parsing of data by congressional district for Alabama through Minnesota.

    Mar 8, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    The Army's Local Economic Effects: Appendix B, Volume 2: Mississippi Through Wyoming; 2nd Edition

    This appendix to the second edition of The Army's Local Economic Effects describes overall economic effects by state, details by fiscal year from 2014 to 2017, and a parsing of data by congressional district for Mississippi through Wyoming.

    Mar 8, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    The Army's Local Economic Effects: 2nd Edition

    This report updates a previous report with findings on the economic activity supported by national-level Army spending in each of the 435 congressional districts for fiscal years 2014 through 2017.

    Mar 8, 2021

  • A B-52 Stratofortress, assigned to the 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., prepares for an operational demonstration of the Quickstrike-ER (QS-ER) Naval mine project at the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, May 28, 219. The QS-ER project was initiated by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command as part of ongoing efforts to modernize and enhance military readiness throughout the joint forces in the Indo-Pacific region, photo by Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Comparing the Cost-Effectiveness of Expendable Versus Reusable Small Air Vehicles

    RAND Corporation researchers reviewed the comparative cost-effectiveness of reusable and expendable platforms for small unmanned aerial vehicles. The findings show that current technology often makes reusable platforms relatively inexpensive.

    Feb 23, 2021

  • A digital image of the globe with red point-to-point paths

    Report

    Managing Risk in Globalized Supply Chains

    This report addresses the challenges the U.S. Air Force faces in mitigating the risks associated with an increasingly globalized weapon supply chain and suggests ways to improve how it addresses such risks.

    Feb 5, 2021

  • Artist rendering of the Type 26 frigate, photo courtesy of Royal Navy, Australia

    Commentary

    Australian Naval Shipbuilding: First Things First

    Australia will soon begin production of Attack-class submarines and Hunter-class frigates, ostensibly bringing more than $100 billion in new naval ship construction to domestic industry. While many in political and labour circles see this as a boon for Australian companies, actual domestic spending may be far less than imagined.

    Jan 22, 2021

  • U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors from 94th Fighter Squadron landed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Aug. 10, 2017, photo by Staff Sgt. Carlin O. Leslie/U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    Bad Idea: Overly Focusing on Development and Acquisition Speed

    The Pentagon has in recent years turned its attention to the need for speed in weapons system development and acquisition. While shortening the timeline for program development and fielding is important for Defense Department acquisition leaders, overly prioritizing speed can lead to issues with program management, sustainment, and other areas.

    Dec 16, 2020

  • The Royal Australian Navy vessel Her Majesty's Australian Ship Adelaide (III) is escorted by a small boat upon arrival for a goodwill visit in Metro Manila, Philippines, October 10, 2017, photo by Romeo Ranoco/Reuters

    Testimony

    Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Capability

    During the past decade, Australia has used research to understand the cost, benefits, and challenges of national shipbuilding strategies and decisions. What recent developments should Australia's policymakers consider when planning naval ship programs?

    Nov 12, 2020

  • Members from the Tyndall Program Management Office, Air Force contracting, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center and Air Force Civil Engineer Center evaluate technical presentations from four vendors vying for the $9 million Other Transaction Authority opportunity to develop an innovative operations center prototype at the PMO’s virtual Pitch Day Sept. 14, 2020, photo by Taylor Koopman/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Prototyping Using Other Transactions: Case Studies for the Acquisition Community

    Through literature reviews, interviews, and case studies, researchers reviewed recent U.S. Air Force experience in using other transactions for prototype projects (OTs), identifying lessons for acquisition professionals and improvements for use.

    Aug 31, 2020

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    Strategies for Acquisition Agility: Approaches for Speeding Delivery of Defense Capabilities

    The authors analyze various approaches to speed acquisition of military capabilities and keep pace with evolving threats, assess these approaches' suitability for different conditions and acquisition types, and identify implementation issues.

    Aug 27, 2020

  • Russian Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jets perform during a demonstration flight at the MAKS-2019 air show in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, Russia, August 29, 2019, photo by Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Su-57 Heavy Fighter Bomber: Is It Really a Fifth-Generation Aircraft?

    Russia's Su-57 aircraft has been in development since 2002 and is considered a key part of Russia's arms export industry as a fifth-generation fighter. Despite continued Russian efforts to sell the aircraft, it is unlikely that a fully developed and full production–ready Su-57 will be available for sale before the late 2020s.

    Aug 17, 2020

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    Report

    Improving Acquisition to Support the Space Enterprise Vision

    A new RAND report examines potential acquisition approaches to support the Space Enterprise Vision and identifies several promising ones that merit in-depth examination: modular open system architectures, agile acquisition, rapid prototyping.

    Jul 15, 2020

  • An Airman with the 238th Air Support Operations Squadron prepares for a close air support exercise during Southern Strike 2020 at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, MS, February 3, 2020, photo by Staff Sgt. Izabella Workman/U.S. Air Force

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare' by Christian Brose

    As the Pentagon and commercial technologists continue to explore the potential of commercial technologies for the military and work towards greater adoption, they may wish to focus not only on lowering bureaucratic barriers but also on managing expectations about what technologies will be most beneficial and how they will be used.

    Jul 2, 2020

  • A Yakovlev Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft performs during the International Army Games 2016, in Dubrovichi outside Ryazan, Russia, August 5, 2016, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Value of Systematic Assessments of Weapons Procurement

    Considering the COVID-19 pandemic and inevitable economic difficulties, national governments should be encouraged to weigh their military requirements in a more cost-effective manner. Countries need to think strategically about the life cycle costs of equipment, not just the original purchase price.

    Jun 8, 2020