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Who Moved My Milestone?
Cost and Risk Implications of Selected Changes in the New DOD 5000 Defense Acquisition Framework

Management Track

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As a significant milestone in the DOD’s continuous self-assessment process, an important document, the Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment (DAPA) report, was released in early 2006. The report – in its sweeping and integrated assessment – attempted to consider all critical aspects of defense acquisition, and made recommendations for each of the major elements of the defense acquisition system. On the basis of the panel’s recommendations, in December 2008 three major changes were instituted in the Technology Development Phase of the DOD 5000.02 Defense Acquisition Framework. First, the new policy now explicitly calls for competitive prototyping (i.e., more than one contractor’s engagement) before source selection; second, it sets the preferred position of the Milestone B review after the Preliminary Design Review; and third, it substantially increases the weight and visibility of the Milestone B decision by requiring to provide the Milestone B report to the congressional defense committees.
The objectives of this presentation are to discuss the motivation behind these recommendations and evaluate the expected effectiveness of the implemented measures with respect to the original objectives. To analyze effectiveness, two major steps were taken. First, the authors established systems engineering effort profiles using COSYSMO (Constructive Systems Engineering Model) for the previous and the current version of the acquisition framework; and second, a similar approach was used to position the software engineering effort profiles by applying an approximated Rayleigh curve.
Our analysis shows that while these policy changes have definite benefits, they also have some unintended consequences. The identified concerns will be elaborated from three different point of views: from the perspectives of the Department of Defense as the owner of the process, the Government Accountability Office as the key auditor of the process, and finally, Program Executive Officers who are responsible for executing DOD policies.


Peter Hantos
The Aerospace Corporation
Peter Hantos is a Senior Engineering Specialist at The Aerospace Corporation. In this capacity he has been supporting the US Air Force and various other military, civil and commercial organizations on the acquisition of space systems. He is the principal investigator of the Unified Life Cycle ModelingSM (ULCM®) project and co-investigator of the research lead by Ms. Nancy Kern, targeting the improvement of cost and schedule estimation methods for software-intensive systems. He has over 35 years of experience as a professor, researcher, software engineer and manager, and has authored numerous technical papers, U.S. and international conference presentations. Prior to joining Aerospace, as Principal Scientist at the Xerox Corporate Engineering Center, he developed corporate-wide engineering processes for the development of software-intensive systems. Other highlights of his Xerox career include the creation and management of a software technology group to facilitate the technology transfer and productization of software prototypes from the Palo Alto Research Center. He holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Technical University of Budapest, Hungary.

Nancy Kern
The Aerospace Corporation
Nancy Kern is a Principal Project Leader at The Aerospace Corporation. She has over 30 years experience in software and systems engineering for software-intensive space and ground systems. She has been involved in numerous acquisitions of complex systems and is highly experienced in all phases of the acquisition lifecycle. As the Director of Software Engineering in the Engineering and Technology Group’s Northern Virginia office, she provided support to the US Air Force and miscellaneous other, military, civil and commercial programs. Since returning to El Segundo, she has continued to support National Security Space customers, leading engineering teams and participating in special studies and reviews. During the course of her work she frequently collaborates with various government cost organizations and currently she is the principal investigator of a research project targeting the improvement of cost and schedule estimation methods for software-intensive systems. Ms. Kern holds a B.A. degree in Mathematics/Computer Science from Purdue University.