The Costs of Commonality: Examination of the JLTV as a Case Study

Report Number: NPS-AM-16-151

Series: Acquisition Management

Category: Cost Benefit Analysis

Report Series: Sponsored Reports

Authors: John Dillard, Jesse Cunha

Title: The Costs of Commonality: Examination of the JLTV as a Case Study

Published: 2016-07-01

Sponsored By: Acquisition Research Program

Status: Published--Unlimited Distribution

Research Type: Other Research Faculty

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Keywords: Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs), Joint Value Model, cost of commonality, program analysis, cost benefit analysis


In the 21st century, Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs) have become increasingly joint service efforts. The concept of a single materiel solution that can meet the requirements of multiple services is the fundamental principle of joint programs, with a concurrent objective of attaining economies of scale. But this trend has also led to expanding program complexities and interdependencies. The resulting cost, schedule, and performance risks often counterbalance, and potentially outweigh, the efficiencies gained through inter-service program designs. Even more important, perhaps, are the eventual, less obvious costs to attain unmet service requirements across a broader portfolio. We define these risks as the costs of commonality. Such costs are unquantified in cost