Skipping a generation of weapons system technology : the impact on the Department of Defense and the defense industrial base
Atkinson, Thomas A.
Mutty, John E.
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During the 2000 presidential race, then Texas Governor George W. Bush advocated transforming and reforming how the Department of Defense (DoD) acquires new weapon systems. He promised a "revolution" that would "skip a generation of technology," in order to "move on to futuristic weapons without necessarily buying all those in development." This thesis examines President Bush's proposal and analyzes the potential impact on DoD and the defense industry. Ultimately the research revealed that there are ways to improve the acquisition process and protect the defense industry. The primary conclusion of the research is that it is feasible to skip current weapon systems in development, in order to begin research and development of the next-generation weapon systems. However, DoD will be impacted through higher operations and sustainment (O & S) costs to sustain existing weapon systems if weapon systems currently in development are skipped. The acquisition professionals that participated in this study believe these O & S costs could increase up to 10% per year for anywhere from five to 20 years depending on the type of system. This thesis makes additional recommendations and areas of further research.
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