Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Ross T. McNutt, PhD


Over the last two decades, reducing product development times in the DoD has been the focus of many committees, commissions, and research efforts. Despite the implementation of numerous recommendations, the DoD still struggles with long acquisition cycle times. This research is part of the Air Force Cycle Time Reduction Research Program (CTRRP), which grew out of the Cycle Time Reduction Action Plan, developed in 1998. This research focuses on the portfolio management (project selection and resource allocation) part of the CTRRP. The purpose of this research effort was to investigate the use of portfolio management within the Air Force. Specifically, this thesis sought to assess how portfolio management is used in Air Force acquisition and to compare the Air Force's practices to commercial best practices. A comprehensive review of commercial portfolio management literature was conducted. To identify Air Force practices, semi-structured interviews were conducted at one Air Force product center. Personnel in positions most likely to use portfolio management, or have knowledge of its use, were interviewed at the center, wing, and direct reporting group levels. The research found that top performing commercial firms with an effective portfolio management process focus primarily on project selection activities at the front end of the development process, while the Air Force focuses primarily on program execution activities at the back end of the process. Recommendations to make portfolio management more effective in the Air Force are discussed.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number