Tag Archives: July 2016

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Tailoring a Large Organization’s Systems Engineering Process to Meet Project-Specific Needs


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Authors: Matthew Graviss, Shahram Sarkani, and Thomas A. Mazzuchi

Systems engineers are faced with the difficult challenge of adhering to broad systems engineering (SE) policies, while simultaneously tailoring SE processes to meet the unique challenges facing their projects. Tailoring is often performed in an ad hoc manner. Determining which stages, steps, and artifacts of the process are necessary can be time-consuming and challenging. SE guidebooks across industry and government organizations often stress the importance of tailoring, yet offer little practical guidance on how to perform the function. This article proposes a model for automating the SE tailoring process through the definition of an organizational rule set and a minimal set of project-specific inputs. The model is then analyzed through several case studies within the Department of Homeland Security to evaluate the proposed approach.

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Department of Defense Acquisition Program Terminations: Analysis of 11 Program Management Factors


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Authors: Lt Col Patrick Clowney, USAF (Ret.), Jason Dever, and Steven Stuban

The research described herein aims to add to the body of knowledge of program management and factors that lead to acquisition program terminations within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Specifically, this research surveyed three groups—DoD acquisition program managers, defense industry program managers, and defense industry consultants—to evaluate and analyze key program factors that influence DoD acquisition program terminations. This research used relative importance weight calculations and a chi-squared distribution analysis to compare the differences between DoD acquisition program managers, defense industry program managers, and defense industry consultants regarding the factors that lead to DoD acquisition program terminations. The results of this research indicate that a statistically significant difference does not exist between the three groups as to the relative importance of 11 program management factors.

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Wartime Construction Project Outcomes as a Function of Contract Type


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Authors: Capt Ryan Hoff, USAF, Maj Gregory Hammond, USAF, Lt Col Peter Feng, USAF, and Edward White

The United States has spent more than $23 billion on construction in Afghanistan since 2001. The dynamic security situation created substantial project uncertainty, and many construction projects used cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts (CPFF) instead of the firm-fixed-price (FFP) norm. Using a dataset of 25 wartime construction projects managed by the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, the authors sought to confirm that both contract types yield project outcomes consistent with the established literature. As expected, they found CPFF contracts had greater cost and schedule growth than FFP. However, they did not find differences regarding as-built quality. Additionally, the authors sought to determine whether CPFF contracts exhibited greater construction risks than FFP contracts. They found no significant differences between contract types in terms of security incidents or other environmental factors. This research may be particularly relevant to military owners who contract projects in wartime environments.

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DoD Strategic Capabilities Office Gives Deployed Military Systems New Tricks

Editor’s note: This is the first of two articles about DoD’s Strategic Capabilities Office.

DOD NEWS, DEFENSE MEDIA ACTIVITY (APRIL 4, 2016)

Cheryl Pellerin

Start with an established military system like the Navy’s Standard Missile-6, or SM-6, a surface-to-air air defense weapon first deployed in 1981. It and its variants launch from cruisers and destroyers and can stop incoming ballistic and cruise missiles at low altitudes in the atmosphere.

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DoD Tech Transformation Holds Surprises for U.S. Adversaries

Editor’s note: This is the second of two articles about DoD’s Strategic Capabilities Office.

DOD NEWS, DEFENSE MEDIA ACTIVITY (APRIL 12, 2016)

Cheryl Pellerin

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2016 — In a geopolitical environment where the focus of nations often is on future technologies, the Defense Department’s Strategic Capabilities Office starts with systems that are well established and familiar to nearly everyone, especially adversaries.

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Work: Robot Warship Demonstrates Advances in Autonomy, Human-Machine Collaboration

DOD NEWS, DEFENSE MEDIA ACTIVITY (APRIL 8, 2016)

Cheryl Pellerin

PORTLAND, Oregon, April 8, 2016—Sea Hunter, a robot warship designed and built by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, represents breakthroughs in autonomous navigation and human-machine collaboration that could change the nature of U.S. maritime operations, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said here yesterday.

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Defense Superiority Relies on Investment, Research, Acquisition Chief Says

DOD NEWS, DEFENSE MEDIA ACTIVITY (APRIL 20, 2016)

Cheryl Pellerin

WASHINGTON—The Defense Department’s ability to maintain U.S. technological superiority for the 21st century depends on research and development investments requested in the fiscal year 2017 budget proposal, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics told a Senate panel today.

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