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Pre-Milestone A and Early-Phase Systems Engineering: A Retrospective Review and Benefits for Future Air Force Systems Acquisition
The DOD management model is based on a lack of trust. Quantity of review has replaced quality. There is no clear line of responsibility, authority, or accountability.
Oversight is preferred to accountability.
Oversight is complex, not process- or program-focused (as it should be).
The complexity of the acquisition process increases costs and draws out the schedule.
Incremental improvement applied solely to the “little a” acquisition process7 requires all processes to be stable—but they are not.
The committee notes that successful implementation of these recommendations requires the “zipper concept”—making connections at all levels, from the senior leadership of the Air Force and DOD down to the working levels within key program management offices and supervisory staffs.
The Acquisition—“Big A”—system is often believed to be a simple construct that efficiently integrates three independent processes: requirements, budgeting, and acquisition. “Little a,” on the other hand, refers to the acquisition process that focuses on “how to buy” in an effort to balance cost, schedule, and performance; it does not include requirements and budgeting.