Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Cost Analysis


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

R. David Fass, PhD


The U.S. Government has looked for effective ways of reducing acquisition cost and schedule overruns for decades. The task of isolating the root cause of these overruns has been difficult. Consequently, it has been difficult for the Government to create effective policies that prevent overruns from recurring. In 1998, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) undertook this problem, and looked to successful DOD and commercial companies for solutions. They found that using mature technology, having complete product designs, and having production processes under control was critical to successfully developing new products. The GAO combined these concepts into a single acquisition practice that they call a Knowledge-Based Approach. They postulate that programs that adhere to the Knowledge-Based Approach will experience better program outcomes than programs that do not. This thesis validates the GAO’s claim by comparing the outcomes of programs that met the Knowledge-Based Approach criteria with those that did not. Our findings suggest that the GAO’s claim is accurate. While their approach may not be a single means for success, programs that employed their approach generally performed better. The programs that met the GAO’s criteria experienced a smaller variation of outcomes and appeared less likely to spiral out of control.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number