Tag Archives: January 2016

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Take a Deep Dive With DAU


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By Woody Spring  &  Rebecca Haydu-Jackson

A technical deep dive for a submarine may involve carefully characterizing submersion depths that approach the performance limits of hull integrity or other system limitations. For a scuba diver, a Deep Dive could be better understanding the capabilities and limitations of human performance or the depth at which nitrogen narcosis begins to set in. Continue reading

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Defense ARJ 76 | January 2016


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


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

From the Chairman and Executive Editor


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Dr. Larrie D. Ferreiro

Chairman Larrie FerreiroThe 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.

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Survey of Modular Military Vehicles: Benefits and Burdens


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Jean M. Dasch and David J. Gorsich

Modularity in military vehicle design is generally considered a positive attribute that promotes adaptability, resilience, and cost savings. The benefits and burdens of modularity are considered by studying historical programs dating back to World War II. Using a taxonomy developed at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, vehicles were considered based on horizontal modularity, vertical modularity, and distributed modularity. Examples were given for each type, including the most extensive attempt at horizontal modularity in the 1980s, known as the Armored Family of Vehicles. Following these examples, various cost/benefit studies over the life cycle of the vehicle are reviewed with differing conclusions depending on the initial assumptions. Finally, a number of design factors are included that should be considered in any program on modular vehicles, as well as some recent initiatives that guide the path forward.

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Technology Approach: DoD Versus Boeing (A Comparative Study)


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Author: A. Lee Battershell

This is an analysis of different approaches in the use of technology by Boeing and DoD to determine how they may have affected development time for the C-17 and the Boeing 777. Boeing’s focus on cost, schedule, performance, and market competition is contrasted to DoD’s focus on performance. The paper concludes that the mere existence of a technology should not obscure (a) the impact its maturity may have on program cost and risk, (b) whether it will meet a real need of the user as opposed to a gold plated one, and (c) whether the added development time it may require could pose unanticipated problems for the customer, or even result in fielding obsolete weapons systems.

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Tapping Transaction Costs to Forecast Acquisition Cost Breaches


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Authors: Laura E. Armey and Diana I. Angelis

This article uses transaction costs to predict the probability of incurring a cost breach in a major defense acquisition program (MDAP). As transaction costs are not explicitly measured for MDAPs, the authors use estimates of systems engineering and program management (SE/PM) costs as a share of overall program costs as a proxy for transaction costs. Using survival analysis, a new approach to predicting cost breaches, they also found that an increased share of SE/PM costs in initial program estimates can help predict future cost breaches.

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To Engineer Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design


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arj-76-book-reviewAuthor: Henry Petroski

Publisher: Vintage

Copyright Date: 1992

Hard/Softcover/Digital: Softcover, 272 pages, http://www.amazon.com/To-Engineer-Is-Human-Successful/dp/0679734163

ISBN-10: 0679734163

ISBN-13: 978-0679734161

Reviewed by: Henry Petroski, professor of Civil Engineering and History, Duke University

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Recognition of Reviewers for Print Year 2015


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We would like to express our appreciation to all of the subject matter experts who volunteered to participate in the Defense Acquisition Research Journal peer review process. The assistance of these individuals provided impartial evaluation of the articles published during the 2015 print year. We would also like to acknowledge those referees who wished to remain anonymous. Your continued support is greatly appreciated, and we look forward to working with many of you again in print year 2016.

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From DAU International Acquisition Professor Frank Kenlon

JSF—DoD’s Largest International Acquisition Program (Nov. 23, 2015)

Most DoD acquisition professionals—in fact, most anyone who pays any attention to DoD acquisition at all—has heard of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. After all, it is currently DoD’s largest acquisition effort, and likely will continue to be for many years. But did you also know that JSF is also DoD’s largest international acquisition program with eight partner nations and three foreign military sales (FMS) customers, with even more allied/friendly nations purchasers anticipated?

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From Professor Fred Schlick, Overhead Management of Defense Contracts

Analyzing Indirect Cost Rates (Nov. 16, 2015)

At least half of contract costs come by way of indirect rates. Contracting officers preparing for negotiations should expect to spend sufficient time analyzing indirect rates. Indirect costs are admittedly more opaque than direct costs and can seem to be a bit of a mystery even to a seasoned contracting officer. The following list of actions may be of help as a start to drilling into a contractor’s proposed indirect rates.

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