Programs we surveyed spent on average over 2 years completing the steps necessary to document up to 49 information requirements for their most recent acquisition milestone. This includes the time for the program office to develop the documentation and for various stakeholders to review and approve the documentation. These 49 information requirements also took, in total, on average 5,600 staff days for programs to document. However, on average, almost half of these requirements, 24 of the 49, were not highly valued by the acquisition officials we surveyed. Four major defense acquisition programs we examined illustrate the challenges in completing the milestone decision process.
The Director, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office is responsible for developing independent cost estimates for major defense acquisition programs. Programs fulfill these requirements in fewer than 49 documents, as some documents contain information to meet multiple requirements and some requirements may not apply to all programs. For example, space programs have to complete an Orbital Debris Mitigation Risk Report that is not required for non-space programs.
1 In the near term, identify and potentially eliminate (1) reviews associated with information requirements, with a specific focus on reducing review levels that do not add value, and (2) information requirements that do not add value and are no longer needed. For the remaining reviews and information requirements, evaluate and determine different approaches, such as consolidating information requirements and delegating approval authority, which could provide for a more efficient milestone process. This effort should also include a re-examination of the reason(s) why an information requirement was originally considered necessary in order to determine what information is still needed and if a more efficient approach could be used. Findings and survey responses included in this report could be used as a starting point for this examination.