From the Chairman and Executive Editor


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Dr. Larrie D. Ferreiro

arj73-ferreiroThe theme for this edition of Defense Acquisition Research Journal is “Learning from the Past.” As Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall noted in 2011, the Better Buying Power initiatives were not so much a collection of novel ideas as they were guidelines “distilled from best practices and lessons learned.”1 He also reminded the acquisition workforce in his rollout of the revised DoD Instruction 5000.02 in January 2015, that “we will never stop learning from our experience.”2

This issue begins with a rarely seen feature in the pages of Defense ARJ—Letters to the Editor. We often receive comments about the articles published in this Journal, but rarely are we afforded the opportunity to publish them. In this issue we present a reader’s comments, and the authors’ subsequent reply, to an article from the July 2013 issue, “Current Barriers to Successful Implementation of FIST Principles.” We appreciate and encourage this level of open discourse on topics of immediate interest to the defense acquisition workforce.

In keeping with the theme of learning from the past, the first two articles are reprints from previous issues, but which continue to have relevance today. In David D. Christensen’s “Cost Overrun Optimism: Fact or Fiction” (originally published in 1994), and Leland G. Jordan’s “Systemic Fiscal Optimism in Defense Planning” (published in 2000), both authors identified systematic underestimating of cost growth and systematic overestimating of resource availability as major contributing factors to inaccurate and unrealistic cost estimates. This dilemma is not limited to defense programs, but rather to any complex system acquisition; in the book Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition by Brent Flyvbjerg et al., reviewed in Defense ARJ (Issue No. 59, July 2011, p. 336), which examines three large European civil engineering programs, the authors cite “overoptimistic estimates” as being primary causes for cost and schedule overruns.

In “Performance Indexing: Assessing Non-Monetized Returns of Investments in Military Equipment,” the authors Robert A. Dinwoodie and Ian D. MacLeod tackle the problem of calculating the “worth” of investments in military equipment programs when a direct comparison using monetary returns falls short. Dennis J. Rensel, in “Resilience—A Concept,” takes a holistic approach to measuring the “health” of systems and capabilities.
The featured book in this issue’s Defense Acquisition Professional Reading List is Richard Whittle’s The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey, reviewed by Defense Acquisition University Professor Owen Gadeken.


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1 Kendall, F. (2011, September-October). Better buying power: Foreword. Defense AT&L Magazine, 40(5), 2–4.

2 Kendall, F. (2015, January 7). Department of Defense Instruction 5000.02 [Memorandum]. Washington, DC: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics.

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