Dollar Value and Risk Levels: Changing How Weapon System Programs Are Managed
RAND NATIONAL DEFENSE RESEARCH INST SANTA MONICA CA
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Currently, acquisition programs are grouped and then managed at the Office of the Secretary of Defense OSD by dollar value -- depending on the dollar value, OSD provides different levels of oversight and different management processes. This approach has been constantly refined over the years without having produced any noticeable improvement in terms of reducing the cost growth, schedule slippage, and performance shortfalls that continue to plague the acquisition of weapon system programs. This paper argues for a different paradigm The level of overall risk inherent in a program should be the main basis for determining the process and level of review a project should receive. Drawing upon examples from warship acquisition programs, the paper also argues that inadequate assessment and management of various discrete program risks result in adverse cost, schedule, and performance outcomes. We examine existing scales for assessing some of these discrete program risks and make recommendations to better assess and manage several programs within the Defense Acquisition Management System. In this paper, we focus on five discrete programmatic risk categories technical, system integration, design, production, and business.
- Administration and Management
- Marine Engineering
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies