Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Cost Analysis


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Jonathan D. Ritschel, PhD


Cost growth is an established phenomenon within Defense Acquisition that the US Government has attempted to abolish for decades through seemingly endless cycles of reform. Dozens of experts and senior leaders within the acquisition community have published their notions on the reasons for cost growth, nevertheless, legislation has yet to eradicate this presumed conundrum. For this reason, this research is aimed at identifying existing trends within past major Defense Acquisition Reform legislation, as well as in a compendium of views from leaders within the Defense Acquisition community on the efficacy of acquisition reform, to determine the possible disconnect. To accomplish this goal, this research takes a qualitative approach, utilizing various Text Mining methodologies (word frequency, word relationships, term frequency-inverse document frequency, sentiment analysis, and topic modeling), along with Grounded Theory Design, to analyze the major reforms and expert views. The results of this research corroborate the current literature’s claim that past Defense Acquisition reforms have not been able to sufficiently address the root causes of cost growth, and identifies six potential root causes of cost growth: Strategy, the Industrial Base, Risk Management, the Requirements and Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) Processes, the Workforce, and Cost Estimates and the Planning, Programming, Budget, and Execution (PPBE) Process.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number