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Science and technology (S&T) programs serve an important function in the defense acquisition process as the initial phase leading to discovery and development of warfighting technology. The results of these programs impact the larger major defense acquisition programs, which integrate the technologies in subsequent phases of the life cycle. Despite this important role, little prior research has examined the performance of S&T programs. In this study, the authors investigate the impact of technological maturation as a critical success factor in Air Force S&T programs. The results suggest that S&T programs with mature technologies are more likely to experience above average cost growth and larger contract values while less likely to experience schedule growth. Additionally, the authors find the partnership method between the government and contractor matters for both technological maturation and schedule growth. Lastly, the nature of the S&T program is important, with aerospace programs more likely to technologically mature than human systems programs.


Defense ARJ is published by the Defense Acquisition University. The journal's online version is hosted at



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Defense Acquisition Research Journal