Pentagon Selected Acquisition Reports: November 2007
If you want to keep track of key Pentagon programs, Selected Acquisition Reports are an important resource. Shortly after the defense budget is submitted, the Pentagon releases details on major defense acquisition program cost, schedule, and performance changes on a periodic basis, summarizing the latest estimates of a major program’s cost, schedule, and technical status. Quarterly SARs are submitted for initial reports, final reports, and for programs that are rebaselined at major milestone decisions. Subsequent quarterly exception reports are required only for those programs experiencing unit cost increases of at least 15%, or schedule delays of at least 6 months.
Total program cost estimates provided in the SARs include research and development, procurement, military construction, and acquisition-related operation and maintenance (except for pre-Milestone B programs which are development costs only). Total program costs reflect actual costs to date, as well as future anticipated costs, and include anticipated inflation allowances.
The November 2007 SAR is a mixed bag, as usual…
The very quiet June 2007 SAR report was tracking 93 programs, with as combined lifetime value of $1.6938 trillion. The addition of a new program (B-2 EHF project) raised the adjusted comparison value to $1.6945 trillion, and cost changes since that report have added $7.65 billion to the lifetime totals, raising them to $1.70213 trillion for the 94 programs being tracked.
Note that changes filed under the “Estimating” category easily outstrip all other categories together, at $6.39 billion. Indeed, most of the cost increases in this SAR are traceable to 2 programs currently facing pointed scrutiny in Congress and/or the US military:
The AMP/RERP modernization program for the USAF’s super-giant C-5 Galaxies added $6.17 billion is estimated lifetime costs, and the controversies this assessment is spawning on Capitol Hill are covered in depth (with a downloadable Excel sheet bonus) in DID’s “Interactive: C-5s vs. C-17s in Washington”
The ARH-70A armed reconnaissance helicopter, which just had its budget zeroed out in the USA’s FY 2008 defense spending legislation, is the other program. The cost increases within the April 2007 SAR were mostly due to a large increase in the number of helicopters the Army wished to order, but this time the culprits behind the $1 billion increase are mostly higher manufacturing and system development costs. This will not improve the program’s already-chilly reception on Capitol Hill.
Other programs featured in this SAR are there for reasons ranging from introduction to the list (post-restructuring: Win-T Increment 1/JNN, Win-T battlefield networking Increment 2), to approval of low-rate production (Excalibur GPS-guided artillery shells, EA-18G electronic warfare aircraft), to delays (USAF Mission Planning System, but cost estimate down; RMS mine-hunting UUV, only compatible test ship is deployed abroad), to removal from the Major Defense Acquisition Program list (EELV rockets, now just an ongoing expenditure).
- See the full report at DefenseLINK.
- Compare to the busy April 2007 SAR report
- To be a really informed reader, read RAND’s “Pitfalls in Calculating Cost Growth from Selected Acquisition Reports” first.