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The theme for this edition of Defense Acquisition Research Journal is “Challenging Conventional Wisdom,” for as the articles in this issue demonstrate, many of the most respected truisms in defense acquisition are not nearly so clear-cut as previously believed.
The first truism examined in this edition is that competition in the defense market should replicate the commercial market by reducing costs and increasing innovation. The article “DoD Acquisition—To Compete or Not Compete: The Placebo of Competition,” by William J. Levenson, builds upon prior research presented at the September 2012 Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Research Symposium, “The Limits of Competition in Defense Acquisition” (http://www.dau.mil/research/pages/papers.aspx). The author uses statistical modeling, within a game theory framework developed by Todd Harrison, to show that the DoD may actually incur increased costs from competition. This paper received the 2013 DAU Acquisition Excellence Award for Outstanding Acquisition Paper at the Eisenhower School, National Defense University.
A second truism is that the Operating and Support (O&S) costs account for about 70 percent of the total life-cycle costs of the average weapon system. In “Investigation into the Ratio of Operating and Support Costs to Life-Cycle Costs for DoD Weapon Systems,” by Capt Gary Jones, USAF, et al., that figure is shown to be closer to 55 percent of the life-cycle cost, though with substantial deviation around the mean. This finding has significant implications for the finance and budgeting of weapon systems programs.
A growing and pervasive realization in the world of information technology is that the current cyber security mechanisms such as defense-in-depth, penetration test tools, and cyber test ranges may prove insufficient in the face of rapidly evolving threats. Thus, Maj Bradley C. Panton, USAF, and his coauthors, in their article “Strengthening DoD Cyber Security with the Vulnerability Market,” recommend the DoD adopt an economic strategy called the vulnerability market as a cooperative means between industry and the military to not only secure, but also optimize critical security investments.
Finally, the current emphasis on program costs as the primary means of optimizing the combination of cost, schedule, and performance is put under a microscope in “A Conceptual Framework for Defense Acquisition Decision Makers: Giving the Schedule Its Due” by Chad Dacus and Col Stephen Hagel, USAF (Ret.). They argue that a greater emphasis on meeting schedule will provide a more consistent set of outcomes for all three criteria.
The featured book in this issue’s Defense Acquisition Professional Reading List is John T. Kuehn’s (2008) Agents of INNOVATION: The General Board and the Design of the Fleet That Defeated the Japanese Navy, reviewed by Robert G. “Bob” Keane.
On a final note, I invite our readers to note the list of reviewers who have so graciously given their time and energy the past year to ensure that the Defense Acquisition Research Journal maintains the highest standards of editorial excellence that have made it the world’s premier journal of research on defense acquisition.
Dr. Larrie D. Ferreiro