The theme for this edition of Defense Acquisition Research Journal is “Tran-sitioning to the Future.” The first article, “Application of System and Integration Readiness Levels to Department of Defense Research and Development” by Sean Ross, demonstrates how to move beyond the Technology Readiness Level system of estimating technological maturity, which was developed by NASA in the 1980s. He shows how the modern paradigm is to combine Technology, Integration, and Manufacturing Readiness Levels into a single metric—System Readiness Level—which can be used as a more robust indicator of the maturity of the technology transfer process.
Technology Readiness Level only tells part of the story of system maturation. As component technologies are developed to become part of systems, there are also integration and manufacturing issues to consider. This article improves upon the System and Integration Readiness Level concepts previously developed by B. J. Sauser et al., combines the concepts of Technology, Integration, and Manufacturing Readiness Levels, adapted for use in defense acquisition, into a single metric—System Readiness Level. This metric can then be used as an indicator to identify areas for resource allocation to enable the most efficient path to technology transition and to prevent premature system advancement.
Authors: Matthew Graviss, Shahram Sarkani, and Thomas A. Mazzuchi
Systems engineers are faced with the difficult challenge of adhering to broad systems engineering (SE) policies, while simultaneously tailoring SE processes to meet the unique challenges facing their projects. Tailoring is often performed in an ad hoc manner. Determining which stages, steps, and artifacts of the process are necessary can be time-consuming and challenging. SE guidebooks across industry and government organizations often stress the importance of tailoring, yet offer little practical guidance on how to perform the function. This article proposes a model for automating the SE tailoring process through the definition of an organizational rule set and a minimal set of project-specific inputs. The model is then analyzed through several case studies within the Department of Homeland Security to evaluate the proposed approach.
Authors: Lt Col Patrick Clowney, USAF (Ret.), Jason Dever, and Steven Stuban
The research described herein aims to add to the body of knowledge of program management and factors that lead to acquisition program terminations within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Specifically, this research surveyed three groups—DoD acquisition program managers, defense industry program managers, and defense industry consultants—to evaluate and analyze key program factors that influence DoD acquisition program terminations. This research used relative importance weight calculations and a chi-squared distribution analysis to compare the differences between DoD acquisition program managers, defense industry program managers, and defense industry consultants regarding the factors that lead to DoD acquisition program terminations. The results of this research indicate that a statistically significant difference does not exist between the three groups as to the relative importance of 11 program management factors.
Authors: Capt Ryan Hoff, USAF, Maj Gregory Hammond, USAF, Lt Col Peter Feng, USAF, and Edward White
The United States has spent more than $23 billion on construction in Afghanistan since 2001. The dynamic security situation created substantial project uncertainty, and many construction projects used cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts (CPFF) instead of the firm-fixed-price (FFP) norm. Using a dataset of 25 wartime construction projects managed by the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, the authors sought to confirm that both contract types yield project outcomes consistent with the established literature. As expected, they found CPFF contracts had greater cost and schedule growth than FFP. However, they did not find differences regarding as-built quality. Additionally, the authors sought to determine whether CPFF contracts exhibited greater construction risks than FFP contracts. They found no significant differences between contract types in terms of security incidents or other environmental factors. This research may be particularly relevant to military owners who contract projects in wartime environments.
WASHINGTON—Defense Secretary Ash Carter today announced that DoD is partnering with an 89-member consortium to establish a new manufacturing innovation institute focused on revolutionary fibers and textiles.
Editor’s note: This is the first of two articles about DoD’s Strategic Capabilities Office.
DOD NEWS, DEFENSE MEDIA ACTIVITY (APRIL 4, 2016)
Start with an established military system like the Navy’s Standard Missile-6, or SM-6, a surface-to-air air defense weapon first deployed in 1981. It and its variants launch from cruisers and destroyers and can stop incoming ballistic and cruise missiles at low altitudes in the atmosphere.