Technical Risk Assessment. The Status of Current DoD Efforts
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC PROGRAM EVALUATION AND METHODOLOGY DIV
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Technical risks are inherent in the development of new weapon systems whose performance requirements exceed the capabilities of current weapon systems. If not anticipated and managed early in the acquisition process, these risks can have profound effects on a programs cost and schedule and, ultimately, the effectiveness of the armed forces. The Department of Defense has identified technical problems as a major factor in cost growth and schedule delays and has reported that the level of technical risk directly affects decisions on further development. In 1981, DoD called for a greater use of quantitative risk assessments to support the budgeting of extra funds to cover technical risk. By 1983, DoD informed the Congress that the services had implemented this initiative. Despite the critical value of technical risk assessment and its reported prominence in DoDs acquisition decisions, very little is known about either its characteristics or the information on risk that is made available to program managers and reviewers. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee asked GAO to examine current DoD policies and practices governing the assessment of technical risk and report on the quality and availability of DoDs technical risk information.
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