Tag Archives: ARJ 74

Defense ARJ 74 | July 2015


To print a PDF copy of the complete issue, click here. Individual articles can be printed from the posts themselves.


To print a PDF copy of the complete issue, click here. Individual articles can be printed from the posts themselves.

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

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Letters to the Editor

Author: From the Executive Editor, Defense ARJ

We often receive comments about the articles published in the Defense ARJ, but rarely have we been afforded the opportunity to publish them. In July 2013 we published the article “Current Barriers to Successful Implementation of FIST Principles” by Brandon Keller and J. Robert Wirthlin (abstract and link below).  We received critiques from Dan Ward, one of the sources that the authors cite in their article. After contacting the authors, we offered to publish Lt Col Ward’s critique along with a response from the original authors. Both parties agreed, and their letters are presented here.

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Cost Overrun Optimism: Fact or Fiction?


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Author: Maj David D. Christensen, USAF

Program managers are advocates by necessity. When taken to the extreme, program advocacy can result in the suppression of adverse information about the status of a program. Such was the case in the Navy’s A-12 program. In “A-12 Administrative Inquiry,” Beach (1990) speculates that such “abiding cultural problems” were not unique to the Navy. To test that assertion, this article examines cost overrun data on 64 completed acquisition contracts extracted from the Defense Acquisition Executive Summary database. Cost overruns at various contract completion points are compared with projected final cost overruns estimated by contractor and government personnel. The comparison shows that the overruns projected by the contractor and government were excessively optimistic throughout the lives of the contracts examined. These results were found insensitive to contract type (cost, price), contract phase (development, production), the type of weapon system (air, ground, sea), and the military service (Air Force, Army, Navy) that managed the contract.

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Systemic Fiscal Optimism in Defense Planning


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Author: Leland G. Jordan

Defense planning and budgeting increase national security costs by significantly overestimating available future resources. An analysis of Department of Defense out-year resource estimates over a period of 20 years and six administrations—the first econometric analysis of budgeted and realized resources in defense—demonstrates that an optimistic bias has spanned administrations and appears to be a systemic characteristic rather than a political one. The result has significant implications for reduction of defense costs without loss of capability.

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Resilience—A Concept


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Author: Col Dennis J. Rensel, USAF (Ret.)

Resilience takes on many definitions and ideas depending upon who is speaking.  Taking this one step further, consider resiliency as a concept that provides a holistic view of a system or capability, just as biomedical indices provide an indication, a concept of a person’s health. This process or concept of assessing one’s health can be equated to the assessment of the health of a network or system.  The hypothesis is: resiliency is meaningful in the context of holistic assessments of capabilities.  At this level, comparisons of capabilities or systems can lead to informed decisions about resources, funding, and tradespaces.  This article develops a Resiliency Tier Matrix and illustrates how to obtain a holistic view of resilience for a capability or system.

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Performance Indexing: Assessing the NonMonetized Returns on Investment in Military Equipment


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Authors: Ian D. MacLeod and Capt Robert A. Dinwoodie, USMC

A prime managerial concern is how to decide which investment alternatives provide the greatest return with least risk of loss. In civilian organizations, numerous methods and formulas assist these decisions. However, in military and other governmental agencies, these methods often fall short because typical governmental investments do not have a monetary return. The processes underpinning governmental resource allocation and acquisition decisions are often cumbersome and time consuming. In this article, the authors present a unique application of composite indexing methods to compare the return on investment in military equipment. They posit that this analytical method can improve government agencies’ investment decisions for capital equipment, especially when methods that are more laborious cannot be executed in the allotted time frame.

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Book Review: The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey


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book-coverAuthor: Richard Whittle

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Copyright Date: 2010

Hard/Softcover/Digital: Softcover, 456 pages, http://www.amazon.com/The-Dream-Machine-History-Notorious/dp/1416562966

Reviewed by: Dr. Owen Gadeken, Professor of Acquisition Management, Defense Acquisition University


Review:

Richard Whittle’s The Dream Machine is as close to a comprehensive review of a defense acquisition program as we are likely to find in our current “sound byte”-focused culture. It traces the controversial and frequently maligned V-22 Osprey program from its earliest days to its vindication in 2011 after successful deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Whittle does this through the eyes of the key personalities in industry, government, and the U.S. Marine Corps who made the “dream” of tilt rotor technology into a reality with some of them giving their lives in the process.

One of the key figures profiled in the book is Richard “Dick” Spivey who started in 1959 as an 18-year-old Georgia Tech “co-op” student at Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth, Texas, worked his way up to “sales engineer” for the new tilt rotor, started a family, divorced, remarried, retired, came back as a consultant, and retired for good in 2006—all before the V-22 achieved its initial operational capability. During his tenure at Bell Helicopter, he traveled all over the world giving over 2,000 tilt rotor briefings and sales presentations.

The book is organized into 12 chapters, each one covering a specific facet of the V-22 story. For example, Chapter One “The Dream” traces the early attempts to develop a “convertiplane,” which although unsuccessful, still offered the promise that such technologies could eventually be made to work. Chapter Two “The Salesman” uses Dick Spivey’s career to illustrate the opportunistic, but persistent process used by defense contractors to market their products to the military. Chapter Three “The Customer” traces the convoluted requirements development and procurement processes used by the military to acquire the equipment they think they need. Chapter Four “The Sale” shows the extremely lengthy, but clever approach used by Bell and Boeing to market their immature tilt rotor technology into a systems contract with the Marine Corps. Other chapters detail the engineering trade-offs and political compromises made during development of the first V-22 prototypes. The author also provides detailed accounts of the major aircraft crashes that occurred as a result of tight funding, design compromises, and accelerated development, which drove the program in its early years.

The author’s ability to integrate the key personalities that shaped the V-22 program into a chronological narrative that includes all major program events makes this not just a historical account, but a fascinating and insightful look at how dysfunctional our “military-industrial” complex has become. But with further reflection and analysis, the story of The Dream Machine can also help us find the way forward to construct an improved acquisition process, which will help us deliver our future dream machines.


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reading-list-logoThe Defense Acquisition Professional Reading List is intended to enrich the knowledge and understanding of the civilian, military, contractor, and industrial workforce who participate in the entire defense acquisition enterprise. These book reviews/recommendations are designed to complement the education and training that are vital to developing the essential competencies and skills required of the Defense Acquisition Workforce. Each issue of the Defense Acquisition Research Journal (ARJ) will contain one or more reviews of suggested books, with more available on the Defense ARJ Web site.

We encourage Defense ARJ readers to submit reviews of books they believe should be required reading for the defense acquisition professional. The reviews should be 400 words or fewer, describe the book and its major ideas, and explain its relevance to defense acquisition. Please send your reviews to the Managing Editor, Defense Acquisition Research Journal: Norene.Fagan-Blanch@dau.mil.