Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


This thesis examines the impact that recommendations made by the President's Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management, informally known as the Packard Commission, had on reducing cost overruns in major DoD acquisition programs. Cost overruns are a recurring problem in the DoD, and the study of possible effects resulting from the implementation of acquisition reform efforts such as the Packard Commission study could alter this trend. In this era of acquisition reform and downsizing it's important that policy makers understand the effects past and current policies have had and are having on reducing the ever present problem of cost overruns. Conclusions drawn in this thesis may guide and direct DoD policy makers in drafting future regulations and policies. This study examined 269 contracts completed between January 1, 1988 and December 31, 1995. It was found that cost performance for contracts completed after the recommendations went into effect was poorer than cost performance prior to the change. It was also found that a more significant difference occurred between contracts in development phases than those in production phases. In fact, percentage cost overruns for development contracts nearly tripled after the policy went into effect. Possible explanations and implications of this discovery are provided.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Logistics and Acquisition Management of the Air Force Institute of Technology