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Defense Science Board Task Force on The Manufacturing Technology Program: A Key to Affordably Equipping the Future Force
DEFENSE SCIENCE BOARD WASHINGTON DC
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Advanced weapon systems cost too much, take too long to field, and are too expensive to sustain. Systems proceed through the acquisition process with immature technology and unstable designs, which result in higher costs, longer development times, and even reduced order quantities all detrimental to the ultimate goal of enhancing warfighting capabilities. While these challenges have plagued the Department of Defense DOD acquisition process for decades, they remain relevant today particularly given the level of current investment in weapon systems that rely on leading-edge technology. A March 2005 U.S. Government Accountability Office report, based on an assessment of 54 weapon programs, shows the pervasive nature of the problem. Among their conclusions is the need for mature technology, stable designs, and production processes that are mature and in control. Because acquisition problems are often designed in, the most successful programs are those where science and technology organizations are responsible for maturing technologies, rather than program or product development managers. Thus, more responsibility for this early effort should fall to the science and technology community. With the likelihood of tighter budgets on the horizon, reducing the cost of future weapons will become increasingly critical. In this context, our task force was asked to evaluate DODs Manufacturing Technology Program ManTech and to provide recommendations to strengthen and improve its benefits to the Department.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE