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Assessment of Accelerated Acquisition of Defense Programs
Institute for Defense Analyses Alexandria United States
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A rapidly changing national security environment and rapidly evolving technologies have led to concerns that Department of Defense DOD acquisition is notsufficiently responsive to operational needs. In response to a provision in DODs Better Buying Power 3.0 initiative, IDA conducted research focused on the cycletime of DOD acquisition processesi.e., how long it takes to acquire and field new force capabilities. DOD has taken various approaches in the past to accelerateweapon system acquisitions. IDA selected several historical acquisition programs, each of which was accelerated either successfully or not in different ways andin response to different operational needs. The research found that acquisition programs should be accelerated when the value of having the capability sooner iscompelling, weighed against the risks of rushing the acquisition process. That tradeoff requires a balancing of current and projected requirements with existing andexpected technologies available to meet them. When the tradeoff favors an accelerated acquisition, the research identified several keys to success. Timely innovationto meet future needs requires a coordinated program of technology development linked with prototyping and operational experimentation and employment. Processesto achieve those ends exist to some extent but must be revitalized and funded with higher priority.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE