Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



Addressed is the control of the rising costs of aeronautical weapon systems; aircraft and missiles with operating regimes within the atmosphere. Specific emphasis is on cost control within the Air Force, however, thoughts and conclusions of a general nature may be applied to the Army and Navy systems acquisition processes and operational procedures as well. Cost reduction possibilities are studied with relation to definition of concept, generation of mission requirements, in-house preliminary design, request for con­tractor proposals, evaluation of proposals, contractor selec­tion, a buy of a limited number of production articles, testing, and pilot training.

High costs, current attitudes, changing priorities, and level budgets have made the task of developing and pro­curing weapons of adequate capability in sufficient quantities extremely difficult. The purpose of this study is to identify and document ways to reduce the costs of aeronautical weapon systems to affordable levels.

A historical review of systems' acquisition approaches and operational procedures is made. These are compared, and their advantages and disadvantages assessed. A new planning organization for systems development is presented; and based on study findings, the advantageous aspects of past approaches are incorporated. The organization is detailed including structure, position within the hierarchy, functional aspects, and size. In addition, innovative management approaches, proven effective and documented in the literature, are incorporated. Finally, specific possibilities for cost reduc­tion are presented.

The body of knowledge assembled in this work has not been fully exploited and utilized. It can be applied to the aeronautical systems' acquisition process and operational procedures of the Air Force resulting in the most capable weapons at the least possible cost. The following recommen­dations are made:

1. Initiate an exhaustive program within the Air Force aimed at making the cost problem and potential solutions known.

2. Implement an efficient planning and development organization for aeronautical systems.

3. Specifications be improved and used as guidance only.

4. Life cycle costs be considered in the conceptual and development phases of systems.

5. Simplification and standardization be practiced.

6. Contracting methods be improved.

7. Greater use of scale, wind tunnel models and mathe­matical simulation models be used for some aspects of testing.

8. Simulators replace actual flying for some aspects of pilot training.

9. A select group of public administration and or­ganizational theory personnel be established to improve efficiency in the Air Force.

10. A program be developed whereby selected develop­ment engineers are afforded the 09portunity to spend ten percent of their time participating in high level systems decision making.

11. Provisions be made for senior decision makers to spend approximately five percent of their time touring development facilities and being briefed on development methods and problems.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

Albert H. Rosenthal

Second Committee Member

Donald W. Smithburg

Third Committee Member

Gerald J. Boyle



Document Type