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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.
The 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.