Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations



SUBJECT: Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Acquisition Reform: Will it Fly?



Director, Global Power Programs

Assistant Secretary (Acquisition)


10 MAY 2000





Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, thank you for this opportunity to appear before you to discuss the Joint Strike Fighter and the accomplishments it has demonstrated in the area of acquisition reform. The most important part of the vision has been to develop and produce an affordable next-generation strike fighter which meets the needs of the warfighters well into the 21st century. The other part of the vision of the JSF Program has always been to be the model acquisition program for joint service and international cooperation.



The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program has been a leader in the implementation of acquisition reform since its inception as the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) Program in late 1993. Since then, the program pioneered the application of many acquisition reform concepts and has been awarded numerous awards for its efforts.

One of the most important features of the JSF Program organization is the extent to which it is truly a joint program. This has been achieved largely through careful planning as set forth in the original JAST Charter. A significant arrangement set forth in the charter is that no single executive service for the JSF Program exists. Rather, the directorship rotates every two to three years between the Department of the Air Force and the Department of the Navy. Additionally, the Program Director reports through the Service Acquisition Executive of the opposite department. Such an arrangement has fostered the environment where both services are absolutely convinced they own this program.

As the precursor to the Joint Strike Fighter, JAST was originally chartered as a comprehensive, advanced technology effort--a non-acquisition category (ACAT) program. There were two main reasons for this. First, it was very specifically intended that the program should not focus prematurely on the development of any specific weapons systems, but rather should allow such decisions to fall out naturally from the interaction between the requirements and the technology communities. The second reason was to facilitate the implementation of streamlined and innovative processes.

The non-ACAT status meant the JAST Program Director could use policies and procedures that would facilitate the accomplishment of the program’s charter to provide significant cost savings, and/or lead the way in demonstrating new processes that may eventually be incorporated into the mainstream acquisition system. Proper controls and checks and balances were utilized and the JAST program Director’s reporting channels were similar to those of a major, high-visibility acquisition program. The program was still reviewed at the same levels and by many of the same groups that would review an ACAT 1D program. As a result, when JAST became JSF and was designated an ACAT 1D acquisition program in early 1996, no dramatic changes in the way the program was managed were required. The program was already reporting through the same channels as an ACAT 1D program.

The JSF program has implemented many initiatives to streamline its business operations and to facilitate the development and procurement of the best possible products at the lowest possible cost. A few of the new business practices implemented include an Acquisition Reform and Streamlining Focus Team, electronic source selection, and extensive cost and performance trades in validating the "operational" requirement.






As mentioned earlier, part of the vision for JSF is to produce an affordable weapon system that meets the warfighters' needs. To accomplish this, JSF has been a flagship program for the implementation of Cost as an Independent Variable or CAIV. As a flagship, JSF is not only practicing CAIV, but also developing techniques and applications and cataloging lessons learned for the benefit of other programs. Additionally, JSF has not only concentrated on acquisition cost, but also on sustainment costs. A Life Cycle Cost model was adopted during the first few months of the program and continues to be refined. This is probably the most mature life cycle cost model ever to be in place in a program at such an early stage.

Affordability drove several key decisions early in the program—including a single engine, a single seat, and the highly common "tri-service family of aircraft" concept. Specific advance technologies were then prioritized based on their contribution to life cycle cost savings and warfighting benefits. These technologies will be the focus of later discussion. Finally, cost goals were established for average unit recurring flyaway cost and EMD cost, and are being established for life cycle costs. These serve as baseline independent variables for requirements and technology affordability trades.

The Cost and Operational Performance Trades (COPT) process has been implemented by JSF on a continuous basis. Ensuring participation by the three major stakeholders in a weapon system development--warfighters, industry, and government, has been the key to the success of this process. Warfighters represented by both operators and maintainers contribute a clear and unambiguous focus on warfighting concepts and needs, as well as expected combat conditions. They are supported by representatives from the intelligence community which contributes information on the threat environment in which the weapon system will exist. Furthermore, the emerging Command, Control, Communications, and Computers/Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) community defines linkages to C4ISR infrastructure. Finally, the modeling and simulation community provides digital representations of weapon and support concepts early in development to support multiple cost performance trades.

Industry provides detailed weapon system concept and cost information that makes the cost-performance trade process function. The program office adds an understanding of cost, schedule, performance, supportability, and resource constraints. Government engineers and analysts provide analyses and technology explorations outside the scope of industry’s detailed concept developments. More importantly, government engineers and analysts present assessments on the cost and performance of contractor concepts.

The result is that every requirement earns its way onto the aircraft on the basis of cost effectiveness. The COPT process was coordinated with the development of each Joint Initial Requirements Document (JIRD) update. This link promoted iterative and interactive requirements and cost trades, which culminated in a validated Operational Requirements Document.

In contrast to some programs which were not initiated until a formal, validated requirements document existed, JAST was established to meet a set of broadly defined needs that were acknowledged in the Bottom Up Review. This directed that specific weapon system requirements should not be frozen until the leveraging cost/performance trades had been performed, and key technologies and concepts had been matured. The COPT and JIRD processes supported this concept. This "just in time" approach avoided premature commitment to requirements that are excessively costly to meet, fail to take advantage of available technology, or conversely depend upon immature or overly expensive technology. In other words, it allows time to work down the cost of the weapons system and insures that the requirements are consistent with the available technology. I would like to concentrate now on the current phase of the JSF program—the Concept Demonstration Phase.



The Concept Demonstration Phase began 16 Nov 1996 with the award of contracts to the Boeing Company and the Lockheed Martin Corporation. This phase is scheduled to reach completion in the spring of next year. The major activities during CDP are propulsion system development, requirements analysis and definition, technology maturation programs, and of course, build and fly two concept demonstrator aircraft per contractor. There are a few important points to consider regarding the concept demonstrator aircraft. These aircraft are "concept demonstrator" aircraft. They are not and were never intended to be prototypes. However, they were put in the Concept Demonstration Phase to accomplish three, very specific objectives: 1.) demonstrate a high degree of commonality and modularity among the services three JSF variants, 2.) demonstrate short takeoff, vertical landing (STOVL), hover, and transition to and from forward flight, and 3.) demonstrate satisfactory low speed aircraft carrier approach flying and handling qualities.





The JSF program office has done an admirable job in ensuring that the CDP program will deliver capability at a low level of risk in order to begin integrating the functionalities during EMD.

Pratt and Whitney is developing engines for both prime JSF contractors' demonstrator aircraft based on their successful engine development program for the F-22. The result is a high degree of commonality not only between JSF contractors, but also between JSF and F-22. This commonality lowers JSF risk, development time, life cycle costs and accelerates propulsion system maturity for increased single engine safety. The bottom line is that all F-22 F-119 engine lessons learned have been incorporated and these engines are on track and will begin flying this summer.

The requirements analysis and definition portion of this phase recently reached a successful conclusion with ORD approval by the JROC. This process actually began with JIRD I in Nov 1995. This 5 year process accomplished what is was asked to accomplish—the most cost effective solution which meets the warfighters' needs. This was done by continually trading cost and performance with each successive JIRD process, tightening the trade space available as a solution was homed in on.

I will discuss the last two CDP goals—technology maturation and concept demonstrator aircraft--as they counter the GAO's claim that JSF will not be mature enough to enter EMD.

The JAST and later JSF programs had many technology maturation efforts to ensure the very thing the GAO claimed—high risk entry into EMD—would not be an issue. These technology maturation efforts aim to fulfill two key recommendations of the 1985-86 Packard Commission: 1) apply advanced technology to reduce cost, not just to increase performance; and 2) demonstrate advanced technologies prior to the start of EMD. The plan was laid out by the former Under Secretary of Defense, Dr Kaminski in 1994.

The Joint Strike Fighter Program Office, in conjunction with each competing contractor, identified critical technologies, processes, and system characteristics required for the program, tailored to each contractor's design. Robust risk management processes were established by each competing contractor and validated by the program office. The government is provided real-time access to these systems for oversight and review during this entire phase of the program. Both contractors utilize what is known as "waterfall charts" built using a Willoughby template. This is a common and accepted practice in industry and government. Risk waterfalls enable joint reconciliation of risk level between the government and each contractor at any given time. Risks have been identified, baselined, and tracked to document the specific events required to reduce the risk of these critical technologies, processes, and system characteristics to a low level prior to EMD initiation. Implementation of this acquisition strategy and risk management strategy has not changed since the program entered CDP in 1996 and most significantly, all of the critical technologies areas have achieved or are on track to reach a low level of risk prior to the start of EMD.

The GAO report highlighted eight critical technologies. These are some of the technologies that are part of the technology maturation program. The heart of the GAO concern is based on a risk assessment tool, which the JSF program office does not use, applied to these eight technologies. Due to the proprietary nature of the program I cannot discuss the details of each one of these technology areas. However, I would like to assure the Committee that DoD is convinced both weapons system contractors are appropriately reducing the risks of these technologies through an affordable mix of flight and ground demonstrations, component demonstrations, and modeling, simulation and analysis. Additionally at the request of the House Armed Services Committee, both weapons system contractors were asked to provide their assessment of the technology risk in these 8 areas, and the program overall. Both reported that they feel the program will enter EMD at low risk, and that sufficient testing and demonstration is in place in the CDP phase to ensure low technology risk entry into EMD.


Clearly since the program’s inception, the program office has been following a rigorous risk reduction plan for approximately 6 years. The risk reduction plan is on track to reduce risk of each technology to "low" by the entry into EMD and leave the integration of these technologies to the EMD phase where it belongs. This risk reduction effort has been an important part of the program's overall goals to implement acquisition reform. In addition, the program's focus on affordability resulted in cost and operational performance trades which delivered a capable, affordable weapons system. The JSF is vital to the modernization of not only the United States but also our closest allies. Any unnecessary delay to the program, such as the one being suggested by the GAO, would not only impact the cost of the program but also have a serious impact on our force structure.

The JSF/JAST program was chartered to do business differently and to demonstrate leadership in acquisition reform, and it has done this. This can be seen from how the program is organized to the goals laid out for the Concept Development Phase. Having embraced these concepts, it was rewarding to those who have worked hard to make this a reality to be presented the DOD David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award in March 1997.

All this has been accomplished under the twin goals of developing an affordable weapons system that can meet the warfighters' needs well into the 21st century while reforming the acquisition process. So Mr. Chairman, when you ask "JSF Acquisition Reform: Will It Fly?", my answer to you is JSF has already demonstrated reforms as called for by Congress and it will continue to write the book that future programs will follow.