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


This thesis examined cost growth in Department of Defense (DoD) aircraft weapon systems from 1991 to 2001 using Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) data with a hybrid adjusted cost growth (ACG) model. In addition, an analysis of acquisition reform initiatives during the treatment period was conducted to determine if reform efforts affected aircraft weapon system cost growth. A "pre-reform" (1 January 1991-31 December 1996) period and a "post reform" (1 January 1997-31 December 2001) period were subjectively developed to compare the mean annual ACG during each period for statistical differences. The hybrid ACG model outlined in this thesis may aid program managers and other interested parties in determining weapon systems cost growth, and the conclusion drawn from analyzing current acquisition initiatives may assist DoD leadership in assessing reform effectiveness on reducing cost growth. This research effort analyzed 78 SARs for 13 aircraft weapon systems that reported a Milestone II baseline during the treatment period. ACG calculations revealed that aircraft systems from 1 January 1991 to 31 December 2001 averaged a 40 percent cost growth annually. The acquisition reform analysis included 43 SARs from 11 programs during the pre-reform period and 35 SARs from 7 programs in the post-reform period. A small sample t-test was used to compare the annual means of the two periods. The t-test revealed that there was no significant difference between the annual average ACG for the pre-reform and post-reform periods. The 13 aircraft systems reviewed in this study are as follows: B-1B (Lancer), C130-J (Hercules), C-17 (Globemaster III), KC-135R (Stratotanker), AV-8B (Harrier) AV-8B (Harrier remanufacture), F-14D (Tomcat), F-16 (Fighting Falcon), F-22 (Raptor), FA-18 E/F (Super Hornet), FA-18 (Hornet), T-6A (JPATS), and the T-45-TS (Goshawk). The thesis methodology, results, and suggestions for future research are provided.

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