The Department of Defense's Application of the Design-to-Cost Concept

PSAD-78-79: Published: Mar 20, 1978. Publicly Released: Mar 20, 1978.

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The Department of Defense's (DOD) use of the design-to-cost concept as applied to the following programs was reviewed: (1) A-10-Close Air Support Aircraft (Air Force); AMTS--Advanced Medium Short Takeoff and Landing Transport (Air Force); (2) UTTAS--Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System (Army); (3) CH-47 MOD--Modernization of Chinook Medium Lift Helicopter Fleet (Army); and (4) FFG-7--Guided Missile Frigate (Navy). Although these programs lent themselves to successful application of the concept, the concept as defined by DOD was not closely followed. Departures in implementing the concept included: (1) not establishing design-to-cost targets during concept formulation when the greatest flexibility existed; (2) overemphasis on controlling the more immediate acquisition costs rather than life cycle costs; and (3) failure to develop the cost database needed to establish cost-performance estimating relationships. Special study teams should be organized to assess implementation of the concept in existing programs and to review plans for its implementation in new programs. The assessments and reviews should focus attention on discrepancies between the concept and its implementation, operate as a corporate memory of lessons learned, and provide program managers with the experience needed to better adapt design-to-cost to their individual programs.

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