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From the Chairman and Executive Editor - Issue 90

From the Chairman and Executive Editor - Issue 90

From the Chairman and Executive Editor - Issue 90
Image removed.The theme of this edition of the Defense Acquisition Research Journal is “Defense Procurement and Public Utility Regulation.” Back in 1968, when the Apollo missions were aiming for the moon while social unrest and the Vietnam War raged back on Earth, George R. Hall, an analyst with the RAND Corporation, published the study “Defense Procurement and Public Utility Regulation” (reprinted here with permission from the University of Wisconsin Press), which examined the mechanism of control that the Department of Defense employs over its procurement process. He noted that the DoD used a mix of competition and direct controls over the prices, profits, and managerial decisions of its contractors, and observed that defense contractors and public utilities share many common features. He then explored whether conferring public utility status on the producers of major weapon systems, and utilizing the regulatory techniques applied to conventional public utilities, might result in a more satisfactory performance of the military procurement system.

Hall’s conclusion, that regulatory oversight for those two industries would be completely different, was followed with his observation that “the best solution to procurement regulation is to minimize the need for it,” and he proposed different ways to achieve this. Now, 50 years later, Dr. Phil Koenig, who studies strategy and economics and teaches at the University of British Columbia, has revisited Hall’s study in his essay “Defense Procurement and Public Utility Regulation: A 21st-Century Re-examination.” He finds that Hall’s conclusions are still valid a half-century later, though for different reasons. Dr. Koenig’s analysis provides a fresh look at what Hall identified as the key problem of information asymmetry between government and the defense industry.

The first research paper in this issue, “Air Force Space Programs: Comparing Estimates to Final Development Budgets,” by Christopher Elworth, Edward D. White, Jonathan D. Ritschel, and Gregory E. Brown, looks at the data from Selected Acquisition Reports for Defense Department space programs to estimate how development budgets vary from the actual development budgets over time. They suggest that, since many programs experience substantial budget growth later in their schedules, budgeting more funds later in a program’s schedule rather than earlier might be more appropriate than doing so earlier in their schedules.

The second paper, “Evaluating Business Models Enabling Organic Additive Manufacturing for Maintenance and Sustainment” by Ashley N. Totin and Brett P. Connor, examines additive manufacturing to produce parts on demand and provide parts at the point-of-need. Their case study and survey of acquisition and engineering professionals analyzes the profitability of four business models, and shows that under the right conditions, digital business models incorporating additive manufacturing can indeed be profitable.

Please note that we have updated the section “New Research in Defense Acquisition,” which is now “Current Research Resources in Defense Acquisition.” It is directly linked with the DAU Knowledge Repository, which offers defense acquisition workforce professionals the products and services needed for user-defined, job-oriented knowledge and situational awareness. “Current Research Resources” gathers in one location the latest topical research and information on many subjects of topical and critical interest to the workforce. In this issue, we highlight Additive Manufacturing and Logistics with descriptions of several key resources, along with links to the Knowledge Repository sites.
The featured reading in this issue’s Defense Acquisition Professional Reading List is Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War by Paul Scharre, reviewed by Brian Duddy.

Dr. Richard Donnelly and Mr. William Conroy have departed the Defense ARJ Editorial Board. We thank them for their service and wish them well.

We welcome two new members of the Editorial Board, Dr. Thomas A. Mazzuchi of the George Washington University and Dr. Steve Fasko of DAU.

Dr. Larrie D. Ferreiro
Chairman and Executive Editor
Defense ARJ