Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

David Petrillo, PhD


The purpose of this research was to explore COTS-based systems as they are acquired by the Air Force. Current guidance related to the acquisition of COTS-based systems is explored. Based upon the literature reviewed, the research targeted the specific area of acquisition plans. A multiple case study of acquisition plans from several COTS-based systems was performed. Current guidance related to the acquisition plan has not been specifically tailored to COTS-based systems. The results of the analysis of the COTS-based systems showed that the use total ownership cost (TOC) and cost as an independent variable (CAIV) enabled a system to he highly successful. The use of TOC combined with the use of CAIV in a COTS-based systems ensures a system has flexible requirements. This flexibility will lead to maintaining or lowering costs while increasing operational capabilities. Additionally, a plan for upgrades in a COTS-based system, that includes TOC and CAIV provides for reduced life cycle costs while allowing for system upgrades. It is imperative that any future acquisition guidance related to COTS-based systems includes TOC, CAIV and a plan for upgrades.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number