An exploratory analysis of the U.S. system of major defense acquisition utilizing the CLIOS process
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For decades, the United States' major defense acquisition system has been under scrutiny and undergone much reform. Groups have researched the issues, publishing hundreds of reports identifying various problems and solutions. Yet, many major weapon systems continue to be well over budget and schedule. Major weapon systems are increasing in size, scope, and complexity. Technology is rapidly changing. Customer expectations are rising. Societal concerns, such as workforce and economic development, are playing a bigger role. Politics are rampant in this system. This system qualifies as a CLIOS system--Complex, Large-scale, Interconnected, Open, and Sociotechnical in nature. This thesis explored and analyzed the decades of research concerning U.S. major weapon systems acquisitions and applied the CLIOS Process. Of the three stages within the CLIOS Process, this research applied the Representation Stage to the U.S. major defense acquisition system. The observations afforded from the analysis were: (1) long-term decisions are made with short-term information and (2) multiple stakeholders and decision makers facilitate little accountability. Three strategic alternatives were identified: (1) create an Integrated Process Team to make joint long-term decisions, (2) mandate a Federal Systems Engineering organization, and (3) create a hybrid between the first two for instilling accountability at all levels.
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