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The Effects of System Prototype Demonstrations on Weapon Systems Development Open Access

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In its 2013 report entitled, Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs, the Government Accountability Office found that between 2007 and 2012, Department of Defense (DoD) program performance demonstrated an inability to sufficiently reduce technology risk prior to entering formal systems development. This inability subsequently contributed to a 13 percent cost growth in weapon systems acquisition, and a 17 percent increase in cycle time to deliver initial operational capability to the user. With the advent of key legislation and resulting DoD acquisition reform initiatives, weapon systems program managers are now required to enforce a technology development strategy that can foster true risk reduction prior to systems entering development. A key enabler to reducing technology risk and thereby accelerating design maturity is the use of system prototype demonstrations. The objective of this dissertation is to present research findings on the effects of system prototype demonstrations on weapons systems development for Major Defense Acquisition Programs. The results of this research will better inform program managers and systems engineers, as well as contribute to improved technology development strategy.

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