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The theme for this edition of the Defense Acquisition Research Journal is “The Method Matters.” The lead article is “Survey of Modular Military Vehicles: Benefits and Burdens,” by Jean M. Dasch and David J. Gorsich, which goes a long way to defining the often-misunderstood word “modularity” and provides a balanced look at the benefits and drawbacks of this acquisition methodology. Acquisition methodology is also at the heart of a classic article from the Summer 1995 issue of the Acquisition Review Quarterly, entitled “Technology Approach: DoD Versus Boeing (A Comparative Study),” by A. Lee Battershell. The author examines how the market-driven approach to development—where cost and schedule dominate decision making—contrasts with the military’s performance-driven approach and how each one can affect development time.
“Tapping Transaction Costs to Forecast Acquisition Cost Breaches,” by Laura E. Armey and Diana I. Angelis, highlights an intriguing method to predict program cost overruns and breaches by focusing on transaction costs, as measured by proxy indicators of systems engineering and program management costs, as a leading indicator. Finally, “Human Systems Engineering and Program Success— A Retrospective Content Analysis,” by Liana Algarín, describes the impact of early identification and assessment of human systems integration requirements on the development life-cycle costs and schedules of acquisition programs.
Please note the updates to the DAU Research Agenda 2016–2017. Based upon Better Buying Power 3.0, in the area of “Competition” we have added a substantial section titled “Improve DoD Outreach for Technology and Products from Global Markets.” As always, the full agenda is intended to make researchers aware of the topics that are, or should be, of particular concern to the broader defense acquisition community within the federal government, academia, and industrial sectors. To view the agenda in its entirety, visit http://www.dau.mil/research/Pages/researchareas.aspx.
The astute reader will note changes to our masthead. Richard T. Ginman, Andre J. Gudger, Dr. Ned Kock, and James E. Thomsen have all moved on to other endeavors, and we wish them well. On the other hand, we are pleased to welcome David Gallop to our editorial board.
The featured book in this issue’s Defense Acquisition Professional Reading List is To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design, by Henry Petroski. This book is frequently cited by Defense AT&L leadership as one of the more influential works. We are grateful to Dr. Petroski for graciously contributing a summary of the book in his own words.