Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Operational Sciences

First Advisor

John E. Bell, PhD


From 1980 to 1992, the DoD spent over $50 billion acquiring Automatic Test Systems (ATS) used to test weapon systems. At that time, procuring unique ATS to support single weapon systems was the norm. In 1994, the DoD made a dramatic change to their ATS acquisition policy; common ATS that supported multiple weapon systems was preferred over ATS tailored to support a single weapon system. Expected benefits of this new policy included: more reliable equipment, increased supportability, decreased cost, smaller logistics footprint, and decreased manning. To date, the common ATS initiative has garnered little support AF-wide due to lack of substantive data supporting the expected benefits in a practical setting. The majority of the ATS procured in the 1980-1992 "bubble" is still in service but is facing severe aging and obsolescence issues. The purpose of this research was to compare two ATS programs selected because of their numerous similarities, with their singular difference being whether the equipment was managed as common core (Cruise Missile ATS) or managed as part of the weapon system (ICBM ATS). This research seeks to satisfy two goals. The first goal of this case study was to determine if the expected benefits of common ATS are being realized in a practical setting. Second, if the expected benefits are not being met, the hindrances should be understood so they may be corrected.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number