below. The description of each issue is followed by relevant findings (numbered in parentheses to match their numbering as presented in Chapter 2 or 3), and a recommendation associated with that issue. The chapter contains 17 of the study’s findings and the 7 recommendations of the study.1


Freezing Requirements Too Early or Too Late in the Technology Development Phase Can Lead to a Mismatch Between Technology-Enabled Capabilities and Requirement Expectations That Significantly Reduces the Probability of Successful Technology Transitions

Imposing a large and rigid set of requirements at the outset of the technology development phase can create false expectations among stakeholders, who may assume that technology “miracles” will occur, enabling the desired capabilities. In such cases, rather than reconsidering requirement expectations when technologies do not live up to early promises, stakeholders holding to an inflexible “I-want-what-I-want” position force programs to take on significant cost, schedule, and performance risks in pursuit of technologies that may never mature. Conversely, programs that freeze requirement too late in the technology development phase—for example, after System Requirements Review—fail to provide stable, objective goals for assessing technology maturity and for containing cost and schedule slippage. Successful programs “viciously manage” requirements, beginning technology development with a reasonable and flexible set of commonly understood requirements.2 In these success stories, acquisition executives such as Product Center Commanders and Program Executive Officers ensure that a program’s cost-capability information is correct and current. As the true life-cycle costs and capabilities of new technologies become known, Major Command (MAJCOM) customers are willing to trade off requirement desires against the cost, benefits, and readiness of new technologies in order to achieve an optimum set of capabilities in a reasonable time and at an affordable cost.


The recommendations in this report apply to each of the three operational domains of the Air Force: air, space, and cyberspace. At the same time, each domain is unique due to its particular characteristics and the unique environments in which it operates. Several other findings besides those given here appear separately in Chapters 2 and 3.


Douglas Shane, President, Scaled Composites. 2010. “Rapid Prototyping at Scaled Composites.” Presentation to the committee, May 13, 2010.

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