Weapon System Requirements: Detailed Systems Engineering Prior to Product Development Positions Programs for Success
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON DC United States
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Cost and schedule growth in DOD major defense acquisition programs persist, and some acquisition reform proponents believe such growth is due to unplanned changes in program requirements commonly referred to as requirements creep. GAO found in June 2015 that cost and schedule growth are often more directly related to a lack of systems engineering, which, if done, would reduce risk by introducing discipline and rigor into the process of defining and understanding a programs initial requirements. House Armed Services Committee Report 114-102 contained a provision for GAO to review the DOD requirements process. This report 1 identifies a framework for assessing the challenge posed by weapon system requirements and the extent of systems engineering done before product development begins 2 illustrates the relationship between systems engineering and program outcomes and 3 assesses implications for program oversight. GAO analyzed a non-generalizable sample of nine case studies. GAO assessed the extent to which systems engineering was conducted before development by reviewing program requirements and analyzing cost and schedule documentation for each case study. GAO also reviewed prior GAO work and interviewed DOD officials. What GAO Recommends To support oversight and inform budget decisions, Congress should consider requiring DOD to report on systems engineering status of each major acquisition program in the departments annual budget request.
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