Tag Archives: Systems Acquisition

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

To print a PDF copy of this article, click here.

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.

Continue reading

Investigation into the Ratio of Operating and Support Costs to Life-Cycle Costs for DoD Weapon Systems

To print a PDF version of this article, click here.

Authors: Capt Gary Jones, USAF, Edward White,  Lt Col Erin T. Ryan, USAF, and Lt Col Jonathan D. Ritschel, USAF

Recent legislation, such as the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, requires a renewed emphasis on understanding operating and support (O&S) costs. Conventional wisdom within the acquisition community suggests a 70:30 cost ratio with respect to O&S and acquisition of an average weapon system. Using 37 Air Force and Navy programs, the authors estimate the mean overall ratio of O&S costs to acquisition costs to be closer to 55:45, although many weapon systems displayed significant deviation from this 55 percent average. Contributing factors such as life expectancy and acquisition strategy (i.e., new system or modification) affect this variance. Their research advises against using a single “one-size‑fits-all” O&S/acquisition cost ratio for all major DoD weapon systems.

Continue reading