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From the Chairman and Executive Editor - Issue 101

The theme for this issue is “Reexamining Investments for the Future.” Issues such as education of military personnel, aging aircraft, and even contracting out services are examined, not merely as…

From the Chairman and Executive Editor - Issue 101

From the Chairman and Executive Editor - Issue 101
Image removed.The theme for this issue is “Reexamining Investments for the Future.” Issues such as education of military personnel, aging aircraft, and even contracting out services are examined, not merely as costs, but as means of improving efficiency and Warfighter readiness. With recent escalations in Europe and across the world, the need for the U.S. to reevaluate and modernize its military systems has come into even sharper focus. The book review in this issue also looks at the kinds of investments needed for the nation in the face of great power competition.

The first article, “Optimizing Warfighters’ Intellectual Capability: Return on Investment of Military Education and Research,” by Johnathan Mun, examines novel ways to value the monetary return on investment (ROI) of military education and research. The Department of Defense sends a large number of officers to various military universities to obtain graduate degrees or perform academic research, as well as to acquire highly valued technical skills and nontechnical competencies in their respective billets. This research indicates that such education brings overall government benefits valued at over five times the initial investment.

The second article, by Thomas Tincher and Tim Breitbach, “Fleet Sustainment and the Fiscal Impact of Contracting Red Air,” uses qualitative analysis and quantitative modeling to determine when aggressor sorties should be contracted out in lieu of government-owned aircraft. This article shows that the government may benefit from contracting out aggressor sorties when organic resources are unavailable or more expensive to use than contractor aircraft. By utilizing contract aggressors more often, not only is direct demand on the sustainment base reduced, but training capacity and fiscal flexibility are increased, allowing for more efficient use of front-line aircraft and other resources.

The third article is “Maintenance Cost Growth in Aging Aircraft: Analysis of a New DHS Dataset” by Nicholas J. Ross. The author uses maintenance cost per flight hour data from Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations to determine how maintenance costs increase with fleet age. The author shows that maintenance cost per flight hour increases by 8% for every year the fleet ages. These calculations pave the way for fleets that are both more effective in combat, and more cost-efficient on the balance sheet.

This issue’s Current Research Resources in Defense Acquisition focuses on Supply Chain Risk Management.

The featured work in the Defense Acquisition Reading List book review is The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury, reviewed by David Riel.