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Life Cycle Cost Analyses of C4ISR Systems

Methods Track

Downloadable Files:

METH-5 Stamm Paper LCC C4ISR Systems


Command, Control, Communications, Computing, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems have emerged as a prominent area of defense investment, modernization, and transformation. In the future, C4ISR will continue to command an important share of defense spending due to the following attributes:

• C4ISR is considered to be a force multiplier, allowing smaller, lighter forces to fight with superior effectiveness through “information supremacy.”

• C4ISR allows U.S. forces to operate with greater armed service cohesion, which allows us to better employ the individual strengths and capabilities of our armed services.

• C4ISR provides U.S. commanders with the ability to anticipate enemy strategies and maneuvers and rapidly react to counter them.

The purpose of this paper is to provide cost analysts with an understanding of networked systems and to offer insights that will help create reasonable and defendable cost analyses. As cost analysts, we have often encountered C4ISR system programs in the form of “stove piped” elements or components. Satellites (both surveillance and communications), sensor aircraft (manned and unmanned), command and control computers, software, communications infrastructure, and hundreds of other items were all developed separately by the services over an extended period. This led to a clouding of “big picture” that defined how these C4ISR elements would work together. It also led to unclear or poorly defined interfaces between system elements. What has changed in recent times is the concept of C4ISR “System of Systems,” developed as a single large program under the leadership of a Lead System Integrator (LSI). Under this scheme, next generation C4ISR systems will be developed as distributed networks linking theater entities (commanders at different echelons and local ISR and logistics assets) with national command authorities, national intelligence centers and assets, and Continental Unites States (CONUS) logistics support agencies and contractor plants.


Dave Stamm
David Stamm is Director of DoD and Joint Service Programs with MCR, LLC in Arlington, VA. He has over 30 years of Air Force and private consulting experience. He holds a BS in business from The Citadel and Masters degree in Business Administration from Webster University. He is also a graduate of the Program Manager’s Course at Defense Systems Management College. Mr. Stamm holds DAWIA Level III certifications in Program Management and in Business, Cost Estimating & Financial Management. He has been a member of SCEA for 12 years and currently serves on the National Board of Directors.

Greg Bell
Greg Bell is a Principal Analyst and senior affordability engineer with MCR, LLC in Arlington, VA. His background includes 30 years in the cost modeling and industrial engineering fields. He is currently conducting life cycle cost analyses and developing conceptual cost models for a wide range of Defense Agencies. His specialty is the preparation of life cycle costs in conceptual and preliminary design environments, development of CAIV studies in conjunction with other engineering disciplines, and creation of design to cost targets and should cost estimates based upon industry benchmarks. He has been involved with large military and civil aircraft programs, sensor and C4ISR aircraft, ground electronic systems, missiles, manned and unmanned spacecraft, and logistics services and information systems.