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Engineering, Life Cycle Logistics, Science and Technology Management, Test and Evaluation, Information Technology, Facilities Engineering
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.
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.
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.