and began homegrown efforts to restore the XRs, but the resultant organizations have remained chronically underfunded, understaffed, and underequipped.59,60,61 Other efforts, such as the ATCs, at one time fostered timely and effective decision making regarding scarce technology maturation and funding. However, in some areas, ATCs and similar initiatives have been allowed to wither.

Meanwhile, poorly performing and failed programs have caused great frustration in the Congress and the OSD, leading to a serious erosion of trust of the Air Force’s stewardship of force modernization efforts. This distrust has resulted in statute- and policy-driven increases in program oversight during all phases of the acquisition cycle. This increased oversight is moving earlier in the process, being applied to preacquisition technology development activities (e.g., Material Development Decisions to Milestone B). One result is an increase in the number of “checkers” at the expense of the “doers”—an overemphasis on people performing review and oversight rather than executing the basics of technology development and program management. The “right people” means the right numbers of people, with the right experience and skills, doing the right things.

Increased oversight also has led, at times, to unrealistic program goals prior to Milestone B. Recently passed legislation and resultant DoD policy initiatives—for example, Section 852 of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), competitive prototyping, DoD Instruction 5000.02, AIP, and WSARA—appear to address some of the negative impacts of the dissolution of DP organization and processes. However, sufficient funding levels are not yet evident, and the growing oversight environment, particularly pre-Milestone B, does not bode well for the full restoration of a robust preacquisition technology development capability.


Donald E. Wussler, Colonel, Director, Development Planning, Space and Missile Systems Center, USAF. “SMC/XR Function Brief.” Presentation to the committee, April 22, 2010.


Charles Kelley, Director, Capability Integration, Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts. “ESC/XR Function Brief.” Presentation to the committee, April 21, 2010.


Edward Stanhouse, Colonel, Requirements and Capabilities Integration, Aeronautical Systems Center. “ASC/XR Function Brief.” Presentation to the committee, April 22, 2010.

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