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Owning the Technical Baseline for Acquisition Programs in the U.S. Air Force

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While there are examples of successful weapon systems acquisition programs within the U.S. Air Force (USAF), many of the programs are still incurring cost growth, schedule delays, and performance problems. The USAF now faces serious challenges in acquiring and maintaining its weapons systems as it strives to maintain its current programs; add new capabilities to counter evolving threats; and reduce its overall program expenditures. Owning the technical baseline is a critical component of the Air Force’s ability to regain and maintain acquisition excellence.

Owning the technical baseline allows the government acquisition team to manage and respond knowledgeably and effectively to systems development, operations, and execution, thereby avoiding technical and other programmatic barriers to mission success. Additionally, owning the technical baseline ensures that government personnel understand the user requirements, why a particular design and its various features have been selected over competing designs, and what the options are to pursue alternative paths to the final product given unanticipated cost, schedule, and performance challenges.

Owning the Technical Baseline for Acquisition Programs in the U.S. Air Force discusses the strategic value to the Air Force of owning the technical baseline and the risk of not owning it and highlights key aspects of how agencies other than the Air Force own the technical baseline for their acquisition programs. This report identifies specific barriers to owning the technical baseline for the Air Force and makes recommendations to help guide the Air Force in overcoming those barriers.

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Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Owning the Technical Baseline for Acquisition Programs in the U.S. Air Force. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/23631.

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Publication Info

82 pages | 7 x 10
ISBNs:
  • Paperback: 978-0-309-44903-8
  • Ebook: 978-0-309-44906-9
DOI: https://doi.org/10.17226/23631
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