Cost Analysis and Research Division

Dr. David Nicholls, Director, Cost Analysis and Research Division

The Cost Analysis and Research Division (CARD) helps guide the Department of Defense and other federal agencies in the decisions, policies, and processes of resource – both people and money – allocation. Specifically, CARD analysts engage in:

  • Evaluating costs for pending government acquisition or retention
  • Examining resource allocation policies to guide sponsors’ decision
  • Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our sponsors’ resource allocation processes.

CARD analysts typically possess an extensive knowledge both of existing processes and of our sponsors’ roles in relationship to other stakeholders. Since resource allocation is one of the fundamental functions of government, it has become exceedingly important – particularly in a difficult economic climate – to review and examine how effectively and efficiently limited resources are distributed to the taxpayers’ best advantage. CARD’s researchers ensure our sponsors are adequately informed of the full range of consequences, implications, and scope of their decisions.

CARD also supports the Department of Homeland Security efforts to assess and validate new anti-terrorism systems as mandated by the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technology (SAFETY) Act of 2002. Similar to the support to DoD, analysts provide the technical evaluation ensuring that proposed technologies are safe and effective.

CARD’s staff of nearly 60 researchers, not surprisingly, is heavily weighted in the academic disciplines of Economics, Social, and Political Sciences; Math, Statistics, and Operations Research; and Business Administration and Management – although certainly hard science and humanities are represented among the staff as well. CARD’s staff profile comprises 80 percent advanced degrees.

CARD-Degrees by Discipline

Chart extracted from Prepare to be Wrong: Assessing and Designing for Adaptability, Flexibility, and Responsiveness, IDA Paper P-5005.

Integral Ballistic Force Protection

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CARD - Selected Publications and Articles6

Analyses of Military Healthcare Benefit Design and Delivery: Study in Support of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission
Sarah K. Burns, Philip M. Lurie, Stanley A. Horowitz, IDA Paper P-5213, January 2015

The Stochastic Active-Reserve Assessment (SARA) Model: Force Planning under Uncertainty
Colin M. Doyle, Nancy M. Huff, Laila Wahedi, Jerome Bracken, John R. Brinkerhoff, David R. Graham, Stanley A. Horowitz, Shaun K. McGee, IDA NS D-5470, April 2015

Are Changes in Acquisition Policy and Process and in Funding Climate Associated with Cost Growth?
David L. McNicol, IDA NS D-5448, March 2015

Evidence on the Effect of DoD Acquisition Policy and Process on Cost Growth of Major Defense Acquisition Programs
David L. McNicol, Linda Wu, IDA Paper P-5126, September 2014

Fuel Price Effects on Readiness
Thomas P. Frazier, John W. Bailey, Nancy M.V. Huff, Shaun K. McGee, Sara Rajaram, Laila A. Wahedi, IDA Paper P-5087, May 2014

Medical Total Force Management
John E. Whitley, Brandon R. Gould, Nancy M.V. Huff, Linda Wu, IDA Paper P-5047, May 2014

The Relative Costs and Benefits of Multi-year Procurement Strategies
Scot A. Arnold, Bruce R. Harmon, IDA Document NS D-4893, June 2013

The Financial Cost and Benefit of Multi-Year Procurements
Scot A. Arnold, Bruce R. Harmon, IDA Document NS D-4895, June 2013

Medical Requirements and Deployments
Brandon R. Gould, IDA Document NS D-4919, June 2013 

Search CARD Selected Publications