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DOD Weapons Systems Acquisition

Problem: The DoD must resolve recurring cost and schedule issues by designing and implementing policies that improve the effectiveness of the DoD acquisition business process.

Goal: Improve weapon system cost, schedule, and performance outcomes. Identify and qualify risks, inform requirements development and cost estimation, and improve the information available to source selection authorities.


  • Improve cost and schedule outcomes on DoD programs by preventing unnecessary changes to program requirements.

    • On July 30, 2007, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD(AT&L) issued a policy establishing Configuration Steering Boards (CSBs) to review all requirements changes that have potential cost, schedule, or performance impacts on a program. CSBs are designed to assess changes that significantly impact a program??s cost schedule or performance and to determine if deferring them to future phases of the program lifecycle is beneficial.
    • Implement CSBs throughout the DoD to prevent unnecessary changes to program requirements, which is an issue that has traditionally contributed to significant cost growth over original estimates that generally resulted in later delivery of warfighting capability and greater cost to the taxpayer.
  • Improve the identification and quantification of risk for DoD weapons systems acquisitions.

    • On September 19, 2007, the USD(AT&L) issued a policy memo requiring pending and future programs to implement a competitive prototyping approach that will be used to demonstrate the maturity of key technologies during the early phases of an acquisition. Prototyping will be conducted in a competitive environment, encouraging innovation and capitalizing on market place dynamics to reduce cost.
    • Implement competitive prototyping throughout DoD, which will reduce technical risk, validate designs, improve cost estimates, evaluate manufacturing processes, and refine requirements. An ancillary benefit of this new policy is that the execution of these prototyping efforts will improve program management and systems engineering skills in the DoD acquisition workforce.
  • Add stability to the DoD Acquisition Business Process

    • Require the completion of a preliminary design review prior to program initiation. This will improve cost estimates, inform requirements and development, and enhance source selection.
    • Establish a substantive review point in the acquisition process between the program initiation decision and the production decision. This review will assess program progress and make adjustments necessary to achieve cost, schedule, and performance outcomes.
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