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SED Research Area:
System Acquisition Lessons Learned and Case Studies

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SED uses its expertise in system evaluations and its long-term institutional knowledge of system acquisition programs to provide the Department of Defense with lessons learned from current and past programs that can be applied to future acquisition programs. Some selected recent SED projects are briefly described below along with the publication year of the associated report.

  • Acquisition lessons learned from the Joint Tactical Radio System Ground Mobile Radio (JTRS-GMR) program for the Director, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) (2013)
  • Lessons learned from the Presidential Helicopter program for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition (ASD(A)) (2012)
  • Space systems acquisition (history, issues, and touch points) for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Developmental Test and Evaluation (DASD(DT&E)) (2012)
  • Planning for the next Navy surface combatant program using lessons learned from the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program (2014)
  • Case study of a major defense acquisition program cost-effectiveness analysis: The U.S. Department of Defense decision to retain the C-17 transport aircraft (2010)

  • One of the important steps in cost-benefit analysis is identifying the alternatives that will be assessed relative to one another. In the case of strategic airlift, the alternatives can be fleets comprised of different numbers and types of aircraft. The figure below shows silhouettes of such airlifters proportional to their relative sizes. Size proves important for utilizing airbases with restricted space or facilities. The capacity of each airlifter is also shown. The C-5, for example, with a maximum payload of 239,000 pounds, can carry large “outsize” cargo (such as M1 Abrams tanks), “oversize” cargo (such as 5-ton trucks), and palletized “bulk” cargo (such as ammunition and food).

    System Acquisition Lessons Learned and Case Studies