Toward Realistic Acquisition Schedule Estimates
U.S. Air Force Academy USAFA United States
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Time needed to develop and field new military capabilities is becoming an increasingly serious problem. Among other things, development times have steadily increased. In this paper, we attempt to structure the schedule estimating problem, present some initial results, and propose a research agenda to improve schedule estimating. Accordingly, we seek preliminary answers to the following questions. What is the current state of the art for estimating acquisition program schedulesWhat should it be What are salient features of program management trade-offs, especially between schedule and cost which are related in complex, imperfectly understood ways In what areas should air combat performance measures need updating What are the elements of a research agenda for learning more about schedule estimating We also present some preliminary results in the form a narrative case study of the F-35 program and empirical estimates of schedules. The JCIDS Joint Capability Integration and Development System Instruction recommends effective cost, performance, schedule and quantity trade-offs as being highly conducive tosuccessful acquisition programs CJCS, 2015, p. A-9. However, these attributes havereceived rather unequal interestwith cost garnering the most attention.For example, in the DoDs latest acquisition performance report DoD, 2015, cost appears18 times in the table of contents and 86 times in the highlights schedule appears six times in table of contents and 37 times in the highlights. Operational performance appears only six times in the contents. In our conference program, cost appears 14 times in five sessions, while schedule appears four times, in one session. Cost is certainly important, and warrants much attention, which its received. The DoD has devoted considerable time, attention and resources to more realistic cost estimating. And, seems to us, theres been a great deal of progress toward that goal.