DoD Contracts Database and Interactive Tool
Methods and Models II Track
Good cost estimates, analyses and assessments should consider all sources of data available. One of those sources – contract data – is often overlooked, and sometimes misused. For many, the collection, compilation, and interpretation of contract data can be an unwieldy and time consuming venture. However, once compiled, the data can be an invaluable resource for cost analysts, providing insight relative to cost, schedule, and technical growth, highlighting data completeness gaps inherent in other data sources, and revealing data trends and/or patterns.
Cost, Schedule, and Technical Growth
All contracts must contain three fundamental components: pricing, period of performance, and technical scope. The basic contract (initial award) establishes these baselines. Subsequent contract modifications detail changes to pricing (proxy for “cost”), changes to period of performance (i.e., “schedule”), and identify changes to the statement of work (i.e., “technical”). By quantifying the baseline and tracking the changes identified in the subsequent modifications, cost, schedule, and technical growth rates can be measured.
Contract data can aid in filling the gaps inherent in other authoritative data sources that are subject to minimum dollar value reporting thresholds, and/or typically exclude data associated with certain programs, contract types or life cycle phases. For example, DoD Earned Value Management (EVM) reporting and Contractor Cost Data Reports (CCDRs) are not required for contracts valued at below $20M. For some programs, there can be many below threshold contracts that when combined, account for a significant percentage of the total program. In addition, CCDR data reporting is not required for ACAT II/III/IV programs. Contract data can fill these gaps to provide a more comprehensive view of program costs and schedules.
Data Trends and/or Patterns
As with any large database, many opportunities exist for data exploitation and analysis. Once compiled, a database containing contract data can be used to examine growth trends and patterns not only at the individual contract level, but also across broader categories such as service (USAF, USN, USA), contract type (Cost Plus, Fixed Price), and commodity (Aircraft, Missiles, etc.). Data dispersion can also be examined to establish confidence intervals and risk ranges associated with growth rates, contract values, etc.
This presentation introduces the Contract Database and Interactive Tool – a product containing detailed quantitative and qualitative data on nearly 5,000 contracts spanning all life cycle phases for 100 Air Force, Navy, and Army programs. First, we provide a brief overview that identifies the quantitative and qualitative information useful for cost analysts that can be extracted from authoritative contract documentation, and the potential applications of that information for cost estimating and analysis. Next we provide a walk-through of the process employed to identify and collect complete and authoritative contract documentation, extract the relevant information, and compile into a searchable, relational database and analysis tool. As part of this walk-through, we identify ground rules, assumptions, and terminology used, along with the data validation checks employed for quality control purposes. Next we provide an overview of the current database composition, followed by an overview of the interactive analysis tool. Using a series of screen shots, we demonstrate the various uses of the tool, including calculation of growth factors and related statistics, histogram and time series charts, root cause analysis, data filtering and exploratory data analysis. Finally, we introduce a prototype ‘CLIN-level’ database and discuss other related future database and analysis efforts.
Mr. Octeau is a Division Director at Technomics Inc. with over 21 years of continuous experience where he has conducted and led a variety of cost research, analysis, and estimation projects for a variety of high technology systems and large scale engineering projects. These projects include defense weapon systems (missiles, aircraft, electronics, ships, space systems, ordnance and tracked vehicles), related support equipment, and facilities. He has directly supported the Office of the Secretary of Defense and all Department of Defense services including the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, as well as several federal civilian agencies including the Department of Energy, NASA, Department of Homeland Security, and the Government Accountability Office. Prior to joining Technomics, Mr. Octeau was a Navy civilian cost analyst at the Naval Center for Cost Analysis. While at the Naval Center for Cost Analysis, Mr. Octeau served first as an analyst and later as the Division head for the Cost Analysis Tools Division, responsible for leading Navy cost research and managing the Navy Visibility and Management of Operating and Support Costs (VAMOSC) system. Mr. Octeau began his cost analysis career at the Naval Air Systems Command where he performed life cycle cost estimating and analysis in support of numerous Navy aircraft and missile system programs.
Mr. Octeau is a SCEA certified cost estimator/analyst and has presented his work at conferences, instructed cost analysis related courses, and has served as an expert witness in front of U.S. House and Senate Committees and the National Academy of Sciences. Mr. Octeau holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rhode Island (1990) and a M.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (1993).