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In this issue, I am pleased to spotlight the winners of the DAU Alumni Association’s 2011 Research Paper Competition. The theme for this year is “Making Every Dollar Count—Improving Acquisition Outcomes.” The topic is directly relevant to one of the most important initiatives in recent years to come from Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Dr. Ashton Carter: the mandate to deliver better value to the taxpayer and warfighter by improving the way the Department of Defense does business. Dr. Carter specifically tasked the acquisition community to search for means to achieve productivity growth; in other words, to do more without more.1
The winners of this year’s competition have made significant contributions to our understanding of how defense acquisition can become more effective and more efficient. Ivar Oswalt and his colleagues garnered first prize with their paper “Calculating Return on Investment for U.S. Department of Defense Modeling and Simulation,” which describes how modeling and simulation expenditures can be evaluated from an enterprise-wide point of view. Second prize is awarded to Steven Stuban and his co-authors for their article “Employing Risk Management to Control Military Construction Costs,” which demonstrates how a formal risk management program was effective in controlling project cost growth.
Two papers tied for third prize. Steven Maser and Fred Thompson, in “Mitigating Spirals of Conflict in DoD Source Selections,” explain how improved communications can mitigate costly bid protests that often plague government contracts. “Maximizing Federal IT Dollars: A Connection between IT Investments and Organizational Performance,” by Jim Whitehead and colleagues, highlights the fact that organizations investing more in IT innovation often out-perform those in which innovation plays a lesser role in their investment portfolio.
Many other authors contributed noteworthy articles to this competition. However, space permits us to publish only one of those contributions in this issue: “Moving Toward Improved Acquisition Outcomes,” by Everett Roper, which investigates the links between organizational culture and acquisition outcomes. To all of the contributors, we give our heartfelt thanks for their efforts. We also thank those who reviewed the multitude of articles we received, and took on the task of selecting winning articles from a pantheon of excellent submissions.
In this issue, we add to the Defense Acquisition Professional Reading List with a review by Shannon Brown (National Defense University) of Building the Trident Network by Maggie Mort—an examination of how organizations, technologies, and communities all converged to create the United Kingdom’s Trident submarine and missile system.
On a final note, I’m pleased to note that DAU has welcomed aboard its new President, Katharina McFarland, who brings to the position a wealth of knowledge and experience in defense acquisition.
Dr. Larrie D. Ferreiro
1. Carter, A. B. (2010). Better buying power: Guidance for obtaining greater efficiency and productivity in defense spending [Memorandum]. Washington, DC: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.