Tag Archives: ARJ 75

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ARJ 75 | October 2015


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Establishing the Technical Foundation: Materiel Solution Analysis Is More Than Selecting an Alternative

Aileen G. Sedmak, Zachary S. Taylor, and Lt Col William A. Riski, USAF (Ret.)

Adequately resourced systems engineering and technical planning before Milestone A can help a program define realistic requirements, establish executable programs, and deliver systems on time and on budget.

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Requirements Engineering in an Agile Software Development Environment

W. Allen Huckabee

The use of best business practices and lessons learned to standardize requirements development and refinement processes can be beneficial to a Business Capability Lifecycle software acquisition program.

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Acquisition Challenge: The Importance of Incompressibility in Comparing Learning Curve Models

Capt Justin R. Moore, USAF, John J. Elshaw, Adedeji B. Badiru, and Lt Col Jonathan D. Ritschel, USAF

When applying learning curves to cost estimation techniques, the value selected for the incompressibility factor is critical for model accuracy.

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Technical Data Packages: When Can They Reduce Costs for the Department of Defense?

Nicholas J. Ross

This article presents an economic model analyzing the impact of research and development costs, production costs, and quantity requirements on the price of a Technical Data Package.


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

From the Chairman and Executive Editor

Dr. Larrie D. Ferreiro

Chairman Larrie FerreiroThe theme for this edition of Defense Acquisition Research Journal, “The Challenge of Defense Acquisition: Getting it Right, Right from the Start,” is addressed by a particularly strong lineup of articles. The lead article is “Establishing the Technical Foundation: Materiel Solution Analysis Is More Than Selecting an Alternative,” by Aileen G. Sedmak, Zachary S. Taylor, and William A. Riski. The authors describe the research conducted under the Department of Defense Development Planning Working Group, which establishes the systems engineering and technical planning activities needed prior to Milestone A in order to develop realistic cost, schedule, and performance estimates.  The second article, W. Allen Huckabee’s “Requirements Engineering in an Agile Software Development Environment,” explains how the agile environment used to create defense business systems today is not properly served by function-based requirements development.  Instead, the author finds that user-story and acceptance methods are better adapted to establishing and updating system requirements.

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Establishing the Technical Foundation: Material Solution Analysis Is More Than Selecting an Alternative


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Authors: Aileen G. Sedmak, Zachary S. Taylor, and Lt Col William A. Riski, USAF (Ret.)

Several government and independent studies indicate effective systems engineering and program planning in the early stages of acquisition are essential to controlling costs and improving program results. To lay the foundation for successful and executable programs, This article describes the challenge of conducting  good systems engineering and technical planning during the Materiel Solution Analysis (MSA) phase after completion of the Analysis of Alternatives and prior to Milestone A. It also presents the work of the Department of Defense Development Planning Working Group to mitigate this challenge by describing the technical activities in the MSA phase necessary to develop the level of knowledge and system concept maturity necessary to proceed into the next phase of acquisition. These technical activities are represented in a notional MSA Phase Activity Model.

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Requirements Engineering in an Agile Software Development Environment


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Author: W. Allen Huckabee

The Business Capability Lifecycle (BCL) methodology, which was implemented to develop defense business systems, requires a change in requirements engineering processes. Previous software development work by Systems, Applications, and Products on the Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-Army) followed the waterfall Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), which is not acceptable in the BCL methodology. The typical functional requirement statement is not easily changed and introduces problems into an Agile SDLC. In this article, the author posits that Agile-based requirements (user story and acceptance criteria) best fit the BCL approach. By implementing best business practices and lessons learned from the GCSS-Army project, a typical BCL-led program can achieve significant benefits, such as (a) increased effectiveness in requirements meeting the users’ needs; (b) increased performance of customers and software developers; and (c) reduced requirements volatility.

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Acquisition Challenge: The Importance of Incompressibility in Comparing Learning Curve Models


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Authors: Capt Justin R. Moore, USAF, John J. Elshaw, Adedeji B. Badiru, and Lt Col Jonathan D. Ritschel, USAF

The Department of Defense (DoD) cost estimating methodology currently employs T. P. Wright’s 75-plus-year-old learning curve formula. The goal of this research was to examine alternative learning curve models and determine if a more reliable and valid cost estimation method exists, which could be incorporated within the DoD acquisition environment. This study tested three alternative learning models (the Stanford-B model, DeJong’s learning formula, and the S-Curve model) to compare predicted against actual costs for the F-15 A-E jet fighter platform. The results indicate that the S-Curve and DeJong models offer improvement over current estimation techniques, but more importantly—and unexpectedly—highlight the importance of incompressibility (the amount of a process that is automated) in learning curve estimating.

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Technical Data Packages: When Can They Reduce Costs for the Department of Defense?


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Author: Nicholas J. Ross

This article presents an economic model analyzing the impact of research and development (R & D) costs, production costs, and quantity requirements on the price of a Technical Development Package (TDP).  It compares payoffs in a game involving a duopoly of defense firms and the government to analyze potential cost savings to the government by purchasing a TDP. It concludes that the price of a TDP depends primarily on rival firms’ R&D as well as production costs. The government is most likely to achieve cost savings in the case where a rival firm has lower production costs, but would lose a competitive bid without a TDP. However, a TDP does not automatically lead to competition-based savings. The author then discusses the implications of relaxing key assumptions of the model.

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Book Review: Forged in War: The Naval-Industrial Complex and American Submarine Construction, 1940–1961


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arj-75-book-reviewAuthor: Gary E. Weir

Publisher: Naval Historical Center

Copyright Date: 1993

Hard/Softcover/Digital: Softcover, 314 pages, available online at http://www.amazon.com/Forged-War-Naval-Industrial-Submarine-Construction/dp/0756766400

Reviewed by: Stafford A. Ward, Department of Defense civilian at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

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