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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?

On the 27th of April the Department of Defense released the announcement of LT Christopher Mosko’s death.

Lt. Christopher E. Mosko, 28, of San Diego, CA Pittsford, N.Y., died April 26 while conducting combat operations in Nawa district, Ghazni province, Afghanistan.   Mosko was assigned as a Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Platoon Commander to Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force, Afghanistan.  Mosko was stationed at EOD Mobile Unit 3, San Diego, Calif.

LT Christopher Mosko and Friends

Matt Cegelske, Lee Painter, and Christopher Mosko and another EOD member in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

I wish I could say I knew LT Christopher Mosko well.  He was one of those great individuals who I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by through my career.  I merely shared one of those many passing moments in life.  It came in the form of a 90 day deployment which was supposed to be a straight forward Homeport change and sail around South America for USS Carl Vinson.  That plan changed almost immediately after we got underway in January 2010.  I first met him when we were pushing assets and resources ashore after the earthquake in Haiti supporting Operation Unified Response (OUR).  He was in charge of the EOD detachment supporting CCSG-1 aboard USS Carl Vinson.  His team was pushed ashore to assist with resource coordination, direction, and delivery.

USS Carl Vinson in Haiti

USS Carl Vinson in Haiti supporting Operation Unified Response (OUR)

After CCSG-1 was relieved by CCSG-2 as TF 41 we proceeded north to Mayport, Florida to quickly resupply and get some Rest and Recovery (R&R) and catch the Super Bowl.  He was one of the many individuals who I joined at a local sports bar to catch the game.

From Mayport we continued our original plan and headed around South America.  I saw Chris off and on aboard through our daily operations while we headed to Rio.  Lee and I enjoyed hanging out with the EOD group one of the few nights we were in Rio and it was great to see new sights and relax a bit.  We continued our journey and stopped in Peru.  I remember seeing him numerous times while exploring Lima.  Then when we reached San Diego they departed and were assigned new tasking which ultimately led him to Afghanistan.

Chris is one of the few people I’ve personally known that our country has lost over the past decade of war.  The loss of his life is quite saddening to me.  Chris was one of those individuals that had that desired “presence.”  Self confidence was ingrained in him and he had the ability to lead which great people possess.  He was a pleasure to be around and those who worked with and for him were better because of him.

His loss reminds me of the poem by Tecumseh at the end of Act of Valor.  Yet Chris’ service demonstrated a Life of Valor; much greater than a single act.  Please see his father’s blog to pay your respects.

He was a part of my life; I’ll not forget him.

Update (7 May 2012): I dedicated my Marathon to Chris.

Update (10 May 2012): LT Chris Mosko, USN, EOD, has made his final trip home to San Diego, CA.

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The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, starts out a recent Mission Command White Paper that focuses on development of the 2020 Joint Force with:

Mission command is the  conduct of military operations through decentralized execution based upon mission-type orders.  Successful mission command demands that subordinate leaders at all echelons exercise disciplined initiative and act aggressively and independently to accomplish the mission.” - Joint Publication 3-0 “Joint Operations” 11 AUG 2011

Immediately delving into the root of what Mission Command, commander’s intent, command by negation (used by the U.S. Navy and may come with some cockiness), centralized planning, decentralized execution the Chairman looks to move the “empowerment bar” back a bit more toward the tactical level.  Sounds much like I described in Developing Naval Leaders: A Gamer’s Method.  This will be critical as our Military forces must remain empowered to execute operations against an adversary in their tactical specific realm.  He goes further to note that these models of command must be complimented by adept and adaptable leaders at every level.

“The relevance of space and cyberspace to national security will grow exponentially in magnitude of importance.  Our reliance on technological superiority is a potential vulnerability that our adversaries will seek to exploit, often in covert or indirect ways.”

I wrote about Technology-Centric Warfare supported by Information-Centricity and one of its main points was the technological superiority aspect that the U.S. Military has always relied upon.  The Chairman also notes that the “pace of change” and the “speed of operations” will only increase.  This brief statement has a very large and monolithic challenge hidden within.  The human element, for the most part, has been relatively constant with its ability to learn & understand.  This then translates to a fairly constant speed at which we’re able to change and adapt both individually and organizationally.

“Smaller, lighter forces operating in an environment of increased uncertainty, complexity and competitiveness will require freedom of action to develop the situation and rapidly exploit opportunities.  Decentralization will occur beyond current comfort levels and habits of practice.”

This conceptual statement dies rapidly at the staffing level, within the Navy, if not assured by the Commander’s authority and responsibility.  But is in the “spirit” of John Boyd’s Observe-orient-decide-act or “OODA Loop” cycle.

Much of this cyclical process is based on the empowered Commander’s ability to understand and ensure trust both up and down the echelon scale.  These abilities will then foster the capability to provide “superior speed in competitive cycles of decision making;” a significant necessity I’ve seen numerous leaders state requirements for yet goes without being addressed.   To instill this ability should we be supplementing the education our leaders receive with something like Carnegie Mellon’s Decision Sciences or Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Technological Change?

What I do know is that while we routinely enjoy being in communication with subordinate units, the next higher echelon, and the planet the Military and Navy are not ready to execute without that tether.  A far cry from our history.

“Any commander who fails to exceed his authority is not of much use to his subordinates.” - Admiral Arleigh Burke


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