Eric A. Plack

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


This research involves a study of Air Force science and technology (S&T) programs which includes the creation of standard factors and a program analysis. There has been little prior cost research on S&T programs, which occur very early in the acquisition lifecycle. This leads the cost analyst to utilize estimating techniques such as analogy, factors, and parametric in order to develop budgets with minimal information. The absence of formal S&T cost reporting requirements and common cost elements necessitate a segregated two phased data analysis. The Factor Development phase accomplishes the development and creation of two new standard cost factors along with a new suggested Work Breakdown Structure. A comparison analysis between published development cost factors and the new S&T factors indicates similarities in some factors. This suggests the more robust development factor dataset could be used when developing cost estimates for S&T cost elements. The Program Analysis phase studies relationships through contingency table analyses between program characteristics and performance measures. The results suggest that aerospace programs are more likely to technologically mature and experience cost and schedule growth when compared to human system programs. Furthermore, results suggest that programs with mature technologies are more likely to experience above average cost growth but are less likely to experience schedule growth. The outcome of this research not only gives cost analysts more tools for estimating these early programs, but a better understanding of how these programs behave under different conditions in order to better predict program performance.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number