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Defense Acquisitions. Future Combat System Risks Underscore the Importance of Oversight

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We look at a business case as comprising those elements that are key to making an acquisition likely to result in a product that performs as required for the time and money promised. A sound business case includes firm requirements mature technologies an acquisition strategy that demonstrates design and production maturity and adequate funding to cover a realistic cost estimate. When FCS was approved to begin in May 2003, it was far from having a sound business case, especially given its unprecedented size and complexity. Specifically, requirements were not well defined technologies were very immature the acquisition strategy was aggressive and did not allow for demonstrating design and production maturity until after the production decision and despite the insufficient basis for good cost estimates, providing the resources at the estimated costs was a great challenge. Since then, there have been a number of improvements in the program. The schedule was doubled to allow for more demonstrations and to spin capabilities out to the current forces requirements are better understood, even to the system level technologies have gotten more mature cost estimates have grown substantially, making them more realistic. Still, it is 4 years later, and progress should be expected. The Army, doing well by its own measures, is well behind business case measures. Requirements are still being defined technologies are years away from needed maturity levels key demonstrations of design and production will still come after the production decision and independent cost estimates are significantly higher than the Armys.

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  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Defense Systems

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