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Rand Corporation LogoThe RAND Corporation has an excellent summary of the U.S. Government-Wide and Department of Defense (DoD) Definitions of Research and Development (R&D).  This helps show the differences between the full government’s view and the DoD specific labeling (6.1, 6.2, 6.3…).  This break down in the definitions of R&D is also referred to as the Government’s “Color of Money” which is simply the variant of Government dollars that a program or project can accept or a funding entity may be able to provide.  This is extremely important to understand when planning the Navy Budget.

To focus specifically on the DoD definitions for DoD Acquisition the definitions are:

  • Basic Research (6.1) – Systematic study directed toward greater knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and/or observable facts without specific applications toward processes or products in   mind.
  • Applied Research (6.2) – Systematic study to gain knowledge or understanding necessary to determine the means by which a recognized and specific need may be met.
  • Advanced Technology Development (6.3) – Includes all efforts that have moved into the development and integration of hardware for field experiments and tests.
  • Demonstration and Validation (6.4) – Includes all efforts necessary to evaluate integrated technologies in as realistic an operating environment as possible to assess the performance or cost reduction potential of advanced technology.
  • Engineering and Manufacturing Development (6.5) – Includes those projects in engineering and manufacturing development for Service use but which have not received approval for full rate production.
  • Research and Development Test & Evaluation (RDT&E) Management Support (6.6) – Includes R&D efforts directed toward support of installation or operations required for general R&D use. Included would be test ranges, military construction, maintenance support of laboratories, operations and maintenance of test aircraft and ships, and studies and analyses in support of R&D program.
  • Operational System Development (6.7) – Includes those development projects in support of development acquisition programs or upgrades still in engineering and manufacturing development, but which have received Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) or other approval for production, or for which production funds have been included in the DoD budget submission for the budget or subsequent fiscal year.
  • Developmental Test and Evaluation – Efforts associated with engineering or support activities to determine the acceptability of a system, subsystem, or component.
  • Operational Test and Evaluation – Efforts associated with engineering or support activities to determine the acceptability of a system, subsystem, or component.

[via RAND]



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Raptor Cough? Whistleblowers Pilots? Haven’t found the problem but continued flying? Pulse oximeter and a Carbon oxygen filter (that spew residue -now removed).











The power of Department of Defense Acquisition component wields a significant weapon; threat of embarrassing those that created and purchased what was acquired. In an environment where it may be difficult to acknowledge failure or mistakes and combined with competitive promotions there is much to be lost both internally and externally. That is why it is so significant when two officers step forward to say something publicly when they ultimately believe that their lives are at in jeopardy due to this specific undiscovered fault.

Obviously there is a significant focus on the protection of the human element within the air frame. This is one of the major benefits of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones is that there is no oxygen system required; the “pilot” remains on the ground. Drones are getting a significant amount of negative press but as the demand for higher and higher performance out of platforms progresses there will be little room for the fragile human element.

It takes a significant amount of moral courage to do something like this and there are always repercussions (direct or indirect) even with the protections afforded whistleblowers.

[via 60 Minutes and CNN]

Update (15 May 2012): The SECDEF has instructed the Air Force to Take Further Steps on F-22.

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So if you’ve never heard of OSD-Cost Assessment & Program Evaluation (CAPE) before here is their introduction:

“The office of CAPE provides independent analysis and advice to the Secretary of Defense and other senior officials on a wide range of issues concerning

  1. cost estimation and cost analysis for major Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition programs (both Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs) and Major Automated Information System (MAIS) programs);
  2. the DoD Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) system;
  3. resource decisions relating to military requirements;
  4. analysis of alternatives to ensure that DoD considers the full range of program and non-materiel solutions;
  5. evaluations of alternative military force structure, plans, and systems; and
  6. the development of improved analytical skills and competencies within the cost assessment and program evaluation workforce of the Department.

This report is concerned with the first topic—cost estimation and cost analysis.”  I’ve provided a few pointed excerpts I found throughout the FY 2011 Annual Report on Cost Assessment Activities from OSD-CAPE.

Interesting Tidbits:

“The Materiel Solution Analysis phase presents the first substantial opportunity to influence design through trade-off studies that balance requirements, performance, technology choices, schedule, and cost considerations. The CAPE independent cost estimate is now an important element of this process.  For MAIS programs, due to resource constraints, OSD CAPE involvement in cost estimates has been limited to those programs that experience a “Critical Change,” as defined in statute (described in Appendix C), when the USD(AT&L) is the MDA. In addition, cost reporting for the MAIS programs currently is poor, and both quality and compliance need to be improved. There remains much work to be done to improve the management and preparation of cost estimates for the approximately 46 MAIS and pre-MAIS programs now in the DoD portfolio.

“Similarly, OSD CAPE had only limited involvement in cost estimates prepared for major defense agency acquisition programs this year. For example, the Missile Defense Agency remains exempt from DoD acquisition regulations. Therefore, CAPE does not normally prepare independent cost estimates for the Missile Defense Agency’s major acquisition programs.”

Status of Major Programs (page 19-21)

LCS Comments:

“CAPE prepared an independent cost estimate for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program in support of the Milestone B DAB review held on April 1, 2011. CAPE did not concur with the draft LCS Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) or the Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM). These documents were subsequently approved by the MDA. The ADM directed the Navy to fund the program to the Service Cost Position, which CAPE argued would result in insufficient funding in FY 2016. This in turn would have an adverse impact on the average unit procurement cost and run the risk of requiring additional resources to complete the ship builds. Also, CAPE recommended that the LCS Mission Module program, which provides tailored warfighting capability to the LCS seaframes, should be established as distinct subprograms for each mission area in order to more readily assess unit cost metrics and track cost performance.”

It is extremely important to understand how the Navy Budget is developed.

DoD Critical Unit Cost (Nunn-McCurdy) Breaches in FY 2011 (Table 2, page 24; page B-1 for severity levels):

  • Excalibur (US Army)
  • Chemical Demilitarization-Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (DoD)
  • Global Hawk (US Air Force)

List of the Cost Analysis Organizations in DoD (Appendix A):

Independent Cost Assessment Organizations (4)

  • OSD – Deputy Director for Cost Assessment
  • Army – Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Cost and Economics
  • Navy – Naval Center for Cost Analysis
  • Air Force – Air Force Cost Analysis Agency

Additional Field-Level Cost Organizations and Activities

U.S. Army

  • TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC)
  • Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command (AMCOM)
  • CECOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC)

U.S. Navy

  • Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)
  • Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)
  • Naval Surface Warfare Center

U.S. Air Force

  • Electronic Systems Center (ESC)
  • Air Force Space Command, Space and Missile Center (SMC)
  • Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC)


  • National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Cost Analysis Improvement Group

[via OSD-CAPE]

*need Abbreviation or Acronym help?

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