Funding for Life: When to Spend the Acquisition Pot
Brown, Kirsty Carter
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The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) spends ''2.6 billion per year (MoD, 2008, Section 1.2; 2007, p. 2) on research and development (R&D) (''Defense Technology,'' 2009, p. 22). The figure is technically correct, but it conceals more than it reveals. Of the total, the MoD spends around ''500 million (MoD, 2006, p. 8) on laboratory research and on taking what emerges from the lab in its first few steps down the long road that leads eventually to mature technology embedded in military equipment. Analysis based on UK National Audit Office (NAO) data (Stationery Office, 2006, November 24; 2008, p. 5) shows that about half of project timescale overruns are due to technology maturation occurring too late (Jordan & Dowdy, 2007, p. 16). US evidence shows that defence projects that get all their technology mature before the equivalent of Main Gate suffer only very small time and cost overruns thereafter (GAO, 2007, pp. 14-15). The first hypothesis would be that funding for technology development occurs too late in the acquisition process, when the problems that inevitably occur have a disproportionate effect on project timescales and costs. However, is this construct based on project failings or funding process failures? To improve the outcome, could we simply improve the timing allocation of funds? This research examines the profile of funding as aligned to maturity levels of technology and system and integration readiness, and makes proposals on the improvements that could be made.
Proceedings Paper (for Acquisition Research Program)
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
NPS Report NumberNPS-AM-10-060
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