Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Cost Analysis


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Michael A. Greiner, PhD


The Department of Defense (DoD) has budgeted over $134.5 billion for Fiscal Year 2004 for Acquisition, yet little is written about the personnel responsible for managing and evaluating Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs) -- those who perform Acquisition Oversight (AO). The AO process has not been studied in a disciplined manner during its 40-year history. Congress, past Administrations, and the DoD Inspector General have commissioned several studies on the AO Process. Recommendations were considered and implemented such that the process evolved to where it stands today. Over 40 years separate the first iteration with the latest version. Commission reports, countless studies, and historians agree on the need for oversight in military acquisitions; they agree that the system takes too much money, takes too long, and does not perform as well as most would wish; yet they disagree on who should perform oversight. This thesis has three objectives: define, document, and utilize available literature to identify the organizations involved with the process as it evolved to its form today; build models of the AO process with emphasis on the chain of command as it existed in the l950s, l960s, l970s, l980s, and today; and evaluate each model on its ability to accomplish seven goals derived from Clinton's 1994 Process Action Team on AO report. The thesis was limited to the DoD AO Process as it historically existed between the Air Force and the Secretary of Defense, or those serving similar positions. The author reviewed relevant literature to model historical oversight hierarchies. Then expert opinions were gathered from that literature on how well the oversight process models performed. As expected, the oversight process has improved over time, but further improvements are currently being sought. Those seeking improvement would do well to study past processes and learn from their mistakes.

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