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Benchmarking Schedules for Major Defense Acquisition Programs

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RAND Corporation Santa Monica United States

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With the Secretary of the Air Force outlining new schedule initiatives in 2015, the Air Force formally recognized the importance of managing schedules and reducing schedule slippage. Unrealistic program schedules are problematic for a variety of reasons. First, stretching development or production activities over longer periods than planned may add significantly to acquisition costs. When schedules slip, program funds may also need to be reprogrammed, contributing to budget turbulence and uncertainty. Finally, delays during acquisition can result in later delivery of critical capabilities to the warfighter, forcing deployed forces to use aging, less capable, and potentially more-expensive-to-maintain assets longer than planned, while reducing overall force capabilities and effectiveness. It would be useful to have a framework for comparing proposed or planned program schedules against the schedules of similar historical programs. This would provide program staff, acquisition analysts, and decisionmakers with additional information from which to gauge the degree by which schedules may be aggressive or conservative. It could also help with the formulation of schedule targets or goals, for incorporation into schedule incentives. In this report, we present an approach developed by RAND Project AIR FORCE PAF to support the evaluation of schedule plans for major defense acquisition programs MDAPs that recently entered the Air Force portfolio.

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Technical Report



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Approved For Public Release;

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