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Rolling On The Affordability River (While Managing The Acquisition Program In The Rapids)

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From inception through execution, every acquisition program in the Department of Defense is now expected, even mandated, to incorporate aspects of affordability. This paper explains the role and importance of affordability; then, taking an empirical approach, it presents scenarios depicting actual events based on the author’s observations and experience within the context of two separate program offices. Affordability, cost estimating, and financial management processes are described and detailed within the scenarios. Problem root causes and areas of strength are briefly discussed, and some topical research is offered as supporting and explanatory material throughout. Finally, affordability guidelines, relevant public law, current Department of Defense Instructions, and senior leader perspectives are presented, reinforcing the importance of affordability in acquisition programs.


Christopher S. Svehlak
Paradigm Technologies, Inc.
Chris Svehlak joined Paradigm Technologies, Inc. in January 2009. He is a Team Leader and Senior Cost & Financial Manager, providing analytical, advisory and programmatic support to the Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville AL. He is a retired Air Force officer, having held various positions including Comptroller/CFO and Squadron Commander; NATO Component Deputy Comptroller; Program Manager; Program Control Analyst; Senior Mission Team Analyst; Executive Officer; Senior Financial Management Analyst; Chief of Budget; and Chief of Cost Analysis. He has held active CCE/A certification since 1995, and holds Defense Acquisition Professional Level III certification in Business/Financial Mgmt/Cost Analysis and Level II in Program Management. He has active memberships in the American Society of Military Comptrollers and the Society for Cost Estimating and Analysis.