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Building a Broader Evidence Base for Defense Acquisition Policymaking

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Technical Report

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RAND Corporation Santa Monica United States

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One of the primary responsibilities of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment USDA and S is to ensure the health of the overall defense acquisition system DASdistinct from the health of any particular acquisition program, portfolio, or pathway. USDA and S can bolster the health of the DAS by developing and promulgating sound acquisition policy that improves the function and operation of the DAS at the enterprise level. The premise of this reportand the premise of the leadership of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment OUSDA and Sis that acquisition policymaking should be data driven. However, there are limitations to relying on empirical e.g., historical data to guide acquisition policy. In light of these limitations, we argue that acquisition policymaking in general should be evidence based, in recognition of a wider variety of analytic tools that can be brought to bear on acquisition policy questions. This report, intended for acquisition professionals, summarizes the case for a broader evidence base and then focuses on one specific tool that we suggest might add analytic value policy gaming. Policy gaming can be used to generate observations about how stakeholders might change their decision making and behavior in light of changes in policy. Because the strengths and limitations of games differ from those of traditional tools for acquisition analysis, we argue that games complement the existing portfolio of analytic approaches. In this report, we describe an acquisition policy game that RAND Corporation researchers developed to enrich the available evidence base to support acquisition policymaking, summarize insights from a prototype game focused on Middle-Tier Acquisition MTApolicy, and speculate about how such games might yield broader insights into the ways new acquisition policies could affect the DAS.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Government and Political Science

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