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Cost growth in defense acquisition is both a problem in its own right and part of the larger phenomenon of programs that fail to perform as intended or desired. It is a limited but persistent phenomenon, which has not improved in any material respect over at least the past four decades; nor is it unique to defense, and it can flow from a variety of causes. A limited group of similar remedies have repeatedly been tried, but achieved very little success due to lack of clear analysis of underlying causes. Research points to a corrective technique, “taking the outside view,” or “reference class forecasting,” with clear promise for attacking the root problems.