Lessons Learned from the Joint STARS Analysis of Alternatives for Cost and Risk Analyses

Life Cycle Cost Track 


LC-3 – Presentation – Cost Overruns and Their Precursors An Empirical Examination of Major Department of Defense Acquisition Programs

LC-3 – Handouts – Cost Overruns and Their Precursors An Empirical Examination of Major Department of Defense Acquisition Programs


The Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) plays a key role in identifying the capabilities required by the warfighters to support the National Security, Defense, and Military Strategies. The Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) is a documented evaluation of the performance, operational effectiveness, operational suitability, and estimated costs of alternative systems to meet a capability need that has been identified through the JCIDS process. As weapon system complexities and their interdependencies between other systems increase in the collaborative warfighter space, this evaluation of mission systems and technologies has become more and more challenging. It is common for AoAs and other supporting JCIDS processes to have to evaluate complex families of systems, subsystems, and technologies, rather than a single, stand-alone system, in support of Material Solution Analysis (MSA) phases of the acquisition life cycle.
This paper explains the challenges of conducting comprehensive cost and risk analysis within an ACAT I AoA for a DoD warfighter capability consisting of multiple mission systems with varying capabilities and characteristics. It provides analysis best practices, methodologies, guidance interpretations, and examples from the Joint STARS AoA. This paper presents how the study evaluated seventeen capability alternatives comprising UAVs, blimps, and manned aircraft, each with a different operational capability, technical performance, service life, and technology readiness level. The paper discusses service life and recapitalization rates, inflation and commodities-based adjustments, the fully burdened cost of fuel, and how to deal with a lack of common estimating methodologies and data sources. The cost and risk results of the AoA were successfully briefed and defended to AFCAA, OSD CAPE, the AFROC and the JROC.


Daniel R. Mask
Booz Allen Hamilton
Daniel R. Mask CCE/A graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2004 concentrating in Digital Systems and from the College of William and Mary with an MBA in Finance in 2007. He is employed by Booz Allen Hamilton as a Lead Associate, and he lives and works in the Stafford, VA area. He is the Past President and Vice President for the Hampton Roads ICEAA chapter, and he is the Membership Chair for the newly formed Central Virginia ICEAA chapter. Mr. Mask performs cost, risk, decision, and budget analyses on several programs within the United States Marine Corps and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Prior to joining Booz Allen, Mr. Mask was an Power Engineer with Northrop Grumman and performed electrical load analyses, managed 15kV power component design and testing, and helped construct a prototype design laboratory for new carrier technologies (CVN21).

David Stem