Integrating Immature Systems and Program Schedule Growth Open Access
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Typical defense acquisition programs take nearly eight years to go from program start to an initial operating capability. Such long schedule durations risk having a future situation where operational forces are composed largely of aged or obsolete systems when not enough new operational systems are available for a mission. Defense acquisition program responses include integrating mature and immature new technologies into developing and in-service systems to offset future threats and needs. Mature technologies may be nearly ready for use; less mature technologies may mitigate anticipated threats or create new capabilities but may also take more time to develop and integrate into a system. Defense acquisition programs can grow by over 25 percent when integrating immature systems. Integration effectiveness is indirectly measured by independent testing near the end of system development using operationally realistic scenarios. Current military operations use ensembles of discrete systems, which may include platforms, sensors, networks, ordnance, and support systems from different acquisition programs, and compose short-term systems to accomplish specific missions. Operationally realistic testing can assess the effectiveness of these ensembles prior to actual use. This research identifies and quantifies performance factors related to operational testing results from publicly available data. Regression analysis of these and other factors is used to identify statistically significant predictors of system maturity and schedule growth. Analysis and validation testing of these models show that system maturity and schedule growth for complex systems and systems of systems can be predicted using combinations of resource, programmatic, system maturity, and integration issues identified by operational testing. Nonparametric analysis of these predictors identifies significant factors related to program integration. The research results provide program offices early indications based on relevant critical factors, allowing them to adjust acquisition program planning and execution, focus on critical areas, and minimize schedule growth.