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A Risk Analysis Tool for Evaluating ROI of TRA for Major Defense Acquisition Programs Open Access

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The U.S. DoD budget has grown to over a half trillion dollars annually. Unfortunately, the majority of these acquisitions do not satisfy their initial performance objectives in terms of cost, schedule, and technical performance. The U.S. DoD attributes these shortfalls in part to the use of immature technologies within these programs. The U.S. DoD endorsed and later mandated the use of Technology Readiness Assessments (TRAs) and knowledge-based practices in the early 2000's to be used as a tool in the management of program acquisition risk. Unfortunately, the expense of implementing TRAs can be significant, especially when programs include knowledge-based practices such as prototyping, performance specifications, test plans, and technology maturity plans. What has been the economic impact of these TRA practices on the acquisition performance of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force? The conundrum that exists today is there is no commonly accepted approach used to determine the economic value of TRAs. This study provides a model for the valuation of TRAs in assessing the risk of technical maturity. It provides a framework to evaluate the economic benefits of performing Technology Readiness Assessments on acquisition performance using cost and technology maturity risks to derive economic benefits, which can then be input into valuation techniques such as benefit/cost ratio, return on investment percentage, net present value, and real options analysis. (Keywords: TRA, Knowledge-Based Acquisition, B/CR, ROI%, NPV, ROA)

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