BOX 1-2

The “Three Rs”

Early in this study, the committee developed a framework, the “Three Rs,” for organizing its findings and recommendations. The framework describes characteristics that, in the committee’s judgment, need to be addressed fully in order for successful technology development to occur. That framework is composed of the following:

  1. Requirements—clear, realistic, stable, trade-off tolerant, and universally understood;

  2. Resources—adequate and stable, and including robust processes, policies, and budgets; and

  3. The Right People—skilled, experienced, and in sufficient numbers, with stable leadership.

Our assessment is that the current requirements process does not meet the needs of the current security environment or the standards of a successful acquisition process. Requirements take too long to develop, are derived from Joint Staff and Service views of the Combatant Commands’ needs and often rest on immature technologies and overly optimistic estimates of future resource needs and availability. This fact introduces instability into the system when the lengthy and insufficiently advised requirement development process results in capabilities that do not meet warfighter needs or the capabilities that are delivered “late-to-need.”38

A second cause of difficulty in the area of requirements is that there can be a large disconnect between what the warfighter wants—“desirements,” as expressed by one presenter to the committee—and what the laws of science permit. In those cases, overly optimistic estimates early in the project life can end up requiring miracles—or worse, sequential miracles—in order to become reality. In the words of the Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment Report (called the DAPA report; commissioned by Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England in June 2005):

Neither the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System nor the Services requirement development processes are well informed about the maturity of technologies that underlie achievement of the requirement or the resources necessary to realize their development. No time-phased, fiscally and technically informed capabilities development


Assessment Panel of the Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment Project. 2006. Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment Report. A Report by the Assessment Panel of the Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment Project for the Deputy Secretary of Defense, p. 35. Available at Accessed January 29, 2011.

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