prototyping, both contractors and the government agencies can exchange information so that a common set of standards can be written into the requirements for a full-scale development. Awarding more than one development contract provides an incentive to competing contractor teams to strive for an optimum balance between performance and cost.
An essential attribute of successful cost control in large acquisitions such as an operational MPAR network is the provision of sufficient and predictable project funding by sponsors at the correct time that is fully consistent with project plans. Interruptions, delays or reductions in the planned funding profile will cause significant and unrecoverable cost growth in a full-scale acquisition as well as in the R&D program.
Part of the Exhibit 300 submission is a section entitled “Alternatives Analysis.” In this section the desired capital expenditure is examined along with the status quo or current baseline, as well as alternate implementations including the one involving MPAR and T-MPAR. Other possibilities would include a next generation weather radar (that might or might not use phased-array technology) or a Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) radar network, with later generational developments of legacy systems such as the ARSR-4, ASR-11, and the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR), and various potential blends of candidate architectures. Such an alternatives analysis would of necessity consider solutions other than MPAR.
The MPAR planning process should take note of best practices employed in the planning and execution of other successful megaprojects and adopt them as part of any MPAR planning and acquisition activity. In 1999, a National Research Council (NRC) study on Project Management at the Department of Energy DOE was convened to determine the root causes in long delays and budget overruns by as much as 50 percent for certain classes of projects over comparable projects at other government agencies or in the private sector (NRC, 1999). The Executive Summary of that report notes that DOE projects were abandoned before completion, cut back or delayed such that upon completion they served no useful purpose. The NRC report identified severe deficiencies in project planning and management at DOE in 16 areas. In Appendix C of the report, entitled “Characteristics of Successful Megaprojects or Systems Acquisitions,” a checklist was developed of conditions essential to, important to, and beneficial to success in a megaproject from the standpoint of general conditions, special conditions, and technical conditions of scope, costs and schedule for major stakeholders and participants in the project. MPAR planners, stakeholders and participants would benefit from applying the lessons learned from prior project successes and failures to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.