Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Michael J. Brown, PhD


A modular open system approach (MOSA) and its inclusion of open architecture are among the prevailing acquisition strategies for cost and schedule management. This approach involves the incorporation of reusable, modular packages that can be incrementally added and upgraded throughout programs’ lifecycles. Many practitioners throughout the acquisitions community find that MOSA enables better opportunities for affordability, rapid acquisition, flexibility, enhanced competition, and innovation. A literature review reveals that few studies examine the interaction between MOSA and the extent to which it influences cost and schedule performance. However, no studies to date examine open architecture’s impact via programmatic evaluation of Earned Value Management (EVM) and Nunn-McCurdy breach metrics. The program management process is critical to successful acquisition, and the use of open architecture affects performance metrics. EVM and Nunn-McCurdy breaches are important to consider because they offer tracking methodology for the overall health of a program in terms of cost and/or schedule. This research empirically investigates and compares EVM data for aircraft that do and do not employ open architecture. Additionally, this research examines the degree to which open architecture impacts the likelihood of Nunn-McCurdy breaches for all program types. Overall, findings support that the presence of open architecture is negatively associated with schedule performance around the halfway point for development contracts. It is theorized that programs adopting open architecture may be too overoptimistic estimating schedule.

AFIT Designator



A 12-month embargo was observed.

Approved for public release: 88ABW-2023-0314