Strategic Planning and Management in Defense Systems Acquisition
Stanley G. Rosen
Strategic Planning and Management (SP&M) methods are widely used in the commercial sector and are a required organizational activity within the U.S. Government. More specifically, defense acquisition organizations use SP&M methods to strengthen the management of defense acquisition organizations/programs. This article reports results of a survey of the defense acquisition community that assessed how SP&M methods and practices promote management effectiveness. The results show that SP&M is viewed as valuable to Department of Defense system acquisition programs and organizations. Moreover, this effort identified high-value activities, tools, processes, practices, and common roadblocks to effective SP&M. These results imply that training on processes and tool use can be very important, especially for senior leaders, and implementation assistance can also be useful.
Improving Program Success Through Systems Engineering Tools in Pre-Milestone B Acquisition Phase
Daniel Deitz, Timothy J. Eveleigh, Thomas H. Holzer, and Shahryar Sarkani
Today, programs are required to do more with less. With 70 percent of a system’s life-cycle cost set at pre-Milestone B, the most significant cost savings potential is prior to Milestone B. Pre-Milestone B efforts are usually reduced to meet tight program schedules. This article proposes a new Systems Engineering Concept Tool and Method (SECTM) that uses genetic algorithms to quickly identify optimal solutions. Both are applied to unmanned undersea vehicle design to show process feasibility. The method increases the number of alternatives assessed, considers technology maturity risk, and incorporates systems engineering cost into the Analysis of Alternatives process. While not validated, the SECTM would enhance the likelihood of success for sufficiently resourced programs.
Time Is Money
Roy L. Wood
Program managers typically focus on controlling costs and delivering a quality product. The acquisition stool’s third leg—program schedule— appears to be a resource that can be slipped to accommodate unstable funding or technical difficulties. Despite studies linking high program cost and long schedules, few major defense acquisition programs are completed in less than a decade. Programs with longer schedules experience further schedule slips, exacerbating the problem. This article is based on research presented at the 2012 Naval Postgraduate School’s 9th Annual Research Symposium. It includes a review of the extant literature on cost and schedule relationships, presents analysis of a survey of program manager perceptions and master schedule usage, and examines why schedules may be problematic to acquisition success.