Proceedings of the 8th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium; Volume II
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During his internship with the Graduate School of Business & Public Policy in June 2010, U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Chase Lane surveyed the activities of the Naval Postgraduate School''s Acquisition Research Program in its first seven years. The sheer volume of research products''almost 600 published papers (e.g., technical reports, journal articles, theses)''indicates the extent to which the depth and breadth of acquisition research has increased during these years. Over 300 authors contributed to these works, which means that the pool of those who have had significant intellectual engagement with acquisition issues has increased substantially. The broad range of research topics includes acquisition reform, defense industry, fielding, contracting, interoperability, organizational behavior, risk management, cost estimating, and many others. Approaches range from conceptual and exploratory studies to develop propositions about various aspects of acquisition, to applied and statistical analyses to test specific hypotheses. Methodologies include case studies, modeling, surveys, and experiments. On the whole, such findings make us both grateful for the ARPs progress to date, and hopeful that this progress in research will lead to substantive improvements in the DoDs acquisition outcomes. As pragmatists, we of course recognize that such change can only occur to the extent that the potential knowledge wrapped up in these products is put to use and tested to determine its value. We take seriously the pernicious effects of the so-called theory''practice gap, which would separate the acquisition scholar from the acquisition practitioner, and relegate the scholar''s work to mere academic shelfware. Some design features of our program that we believe help avoid these effects include the following: connecting researchers with practitioners on specific projects; requiring researchers to brief sponsors on project findings as a condition of funding award; pushing potentially high-impact research reports (e.g., via overnight shipping) to selected practitioners and policy-makers; and most notably, sponsoring this symposium, which we craft intentionally as an opportunity for fruitful, lasting connections between scholars and practitioners. A former Defense Acquisition Executive, responding to a comment that academic research was not generally useful in acquisition practice, opined, That''s not their [the academics] problem''it''s ours [the practitioners]. They can only perform research; its up to us to use it. While we certainly agree with this sentiment, we also recognize that any research, however theoretical, must point to some termination in action; academics have a responsibility to make their work intelligible to practitioners. Thus we continue to seek projects that both comport with solid standards of scholarship, and address relevant acquisition issues. These years of experience have shown us the difficulty in attempting to balance these two objectives, but we are convinced that the attempt is absolutely essential if any real improvement is to be realized. We gratefully acknowledge the ongoing support and leadership of our sponsors, whose foresight and vision have assured the continuing success of the Acquisition Research Program: ﾕ_ﾥ Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology & Logistics) ﾕ_ﾥ Program Executive Officer SHIPS ﾕ_ﾥ Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command ﾕ_ﾥ Army Contracting Command, U.S. Army Materiel Command ﾕ_ﾥ Program Manager, Airborne, Maritime and Fixed Station Joint Tactical Radio System ﾕ_ﾥ Program Executive Officer Integrated Warfare Systems ﾕ_ﾥ Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition) ﾕ_ﾥ Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, & Technology) ﾕ_ﾥ Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Acquisition & Logistics Management) ﾕ_ﾥ Director, Strategic Systems Programs Office ﾕ_ﾥ Deputy Director, Acquisition Career Management, US Army ﾕ_ﾥ Defense Business Systems Acquisition Executive, Business Transformation Agency ﾕ_ﾥ Office of Procurement and Assistance Management Headquarters, Department of Energy We also thank the Naval Postgraduate School Foundation and acknowledge its generous contributions in support of this Symposium.
Proceedings Paper (for Acquisition Research Program)
NPS Report NumberNPS-AM-11-018
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