Using Spiral Development To Reduce Acquisition Cycle Times
By: Jacques Gansler, William Lucyshyn, Adam Spiers
The U.S. military’s mission expanded significantly following the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01 and with the subsequent Global War on Terror (and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq). In order for the military to effectively respond to, and counter, these rapidly evolving asymmetric and irregular threats, the military needs an acquisition system that will provide the required weapons quickly, efficiently, and with low risk.
Unfortunately, rather than becoming more efficient, the DoD has faced ever-lengthening development cycles. Long developments have typically been justified as required to fulfill the military’s demand for cutting-edge hardware. Moreover, long development cycles do not necessarily provide better results. A technology that appears to have a high utility at initiation may only prove to be marginally useful once the technology is fully matured and deployed. Additionally, at a time when the threat is rapidly changing, long development cycles may produce weapons that are effective for a problem that no longer exists. Importantly, history shows that the longer a system’s development cycle, the more likely a program is to experience significant cost growth. This comes at a time when, we believe, the nation’s future budgetary situation—as mandatory federal budget expenditures rise—will constrain and, more likely, exert an increasing downward budgetary pressure on future defense spending.