Management Perspectives Pertaining to Root Cause Analyses of Nunn-McCurdy Breaches, Volume 4

Management Perspectives Pertaining to Root Cause Analyses of Nunn-McCurdy Breaches, Volume 4: Program Manager Tenure, Oversight of Acquisition Category II Programs, and Framing Assumptions

MarMark V. Arena
Irv Blickstein
Abby Doll
Jeffrey A. Drezner
James G. Kallimani
Jennifer Kavanagh
Daniel F. McCaffrey
Megan McKernan
Charles Nemfakos
Rena Rudavsky
Jerry M. Sollinger
Daniel Tremblay
Carolyn Wong
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 146
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  • Book Info
    Management Perspectives Pertaining to Root Cause Analyses of Nunn-McCurdy Breaches, Volume 4
    Book Description:

    The authors investigate whether the tenure of program managers contributes to Nunn-McCurdy breaches. They also examine the existing decentralized systems used to track cost growth to determine whether additional guidance and control are needed to make acquisition category II programs’ performance more transparent. Finally, they investigate whether key assumptions, so-called framing assumptions, could be useful risk management tools.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8379-1
    Subjects: History, Technology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xxii)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxv-xxx)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    In addition to doing root cause analyses on major defense acquisition programs (MDAPs) that incurred Nunn-McCurdy breaches, the Director of the Office of Performance Assessments and Root Cause Analyses (PARCA) asked RAND to explore some additional issues to determine whether they might affect the management of such programs. This report presents research conducted on three relevant topics: the tenure of program managers, the need for Department of Defense (DoD)–level oversight on Acquisition Category (ACAT) II programs, and the potential use of framing assumptions as a way to manage program risk. The issues raised by these topics are discussed briefly...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Program Manager Tenure
    (pp. 5-20)

    As outlined in Chapter One, PM tenure has long been a topic of interest to DoD, which has established policies designed to increase that tenure, most recently in 2005 and 2007.

    Additional exploration of other research quantifying PM tenure since 2007 did not yield any relevant answers to the research question of whether PM tenure has lengthened as a result of these policies. However, a look back over the past 40 years revealed that PM tenure is not a new policy issue, and it has been measured several times in sample sets of programs, by individual service, and also by...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Oversight of ACAT II Programs
    (pp. 21-82)

    Many legislative attempts have been made to control cost growth and to eliminate development delays. These have achieved some success but have failed to eliminate either unexpected increases in program costs or long production delays. In addition, existing requirements cover primarily the largest acquisition programs, MDAPs, leaving smaller and non-MDAP programs without consistent centralized oversight at the OSD level. Oversight for these smaller programs occurs only at the military department level.¹ The motivating question driving this report is whether existing decentralized systems used to track cost growth and performance of ACAT II programs are sufficient or whether additional centralized guidance...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Framing Assumptions
    (pp. 83-104)

    Most defense acquisition programs face the challenge of forecasting cost, schedule, and technical expectations far in advance of actual work—sometimes decades beforehand. Moreover, programs must also account for differences in acquisition strategy and marketplace environment in these forecasts. As a result, program managers must make assumptions regarding these uncertain elements of program execution. Although necessary, such assumptions expose the program to risk of cost growth and schedule slip.

    PARCA office research has noted that incorrect assumptions (or conditions that make the assumptions invalid) can cause a program to miss its budget forecasts. More important, these incorrect assumptions often lead...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions
    (pp. 105-108)

    It is difficult to assess whether policies implemented to foster longer tenures have been successful judging by previous data and studies and current data. Given that the same themes have reoccurred in policies over the past 40 years, the intent of these policies may not have been achieved. Furthermore, an enforcement mechanism has not been readily apparent over time. A fundamental conflict exists between what military officers need to do to be promoted and their tenure as PMs. Unless these two objectives are connected so that lengthy tenure in a program can be advantageous for promotion, it is unlikely that...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 109-116)