Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering Management


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

John J. Elshaw, PhD


Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition programs continue to encounter schedule delays and cost overruns despite past reforms. Global threat uncertainties and high-velocity technological advances are also prevailing. Given the current rate at which program offices are fielding weapon systems, the United States (US) may be fighting with obsolete weapons and technology. Gaining superiority demands a new approach – to expedite the rate of capability delivery through rapid acquisition programs who have demonstrated success in delivering capabilities with speed. This research examines whether the attributes in the people dimension of an expedited framework contribute to success of rapid defense acquisition programs. Through standard statistical techniques, this research finds the following nine attributes--autonomy and empowerment, customizable team, SME in traditional acquisition process, retention of good talent, customer involvement, tangible connection, motivated culture, debrief culture, and government technical competence--are critical to success of rapid programs. Out of those factors, retention of good talent, debrief culture, and autonomy and empowerment emerge as the best predictors for rapid programs. This research also finds that the attributes autonomy and empowerment, retention of good talent, and motivated culture are embodied by rapid programs but not by traditional (non-rapid) programs.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number