Internal Versus External Acquisition for Small Weapons Systems
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Internal Versus External Acquisition for Small Weapons Systems

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Joseph S. Elkins
246x189x7 mm

The acquisition method used to gain access to new technologies can heavily influence whether our war fighters have the required tools to fight increasing and constantly shifting global threats (Kessler and others, 2000). The purpose of this study was to investigate the process and results of internal laboratory development, testing and fielding of small weapons systems as compared to traditionally acquired systems which encourage customer pull and contractor development. This research provides insight into how Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) personnel choose an acquisition method, retain personnel capability, and maximize product capability. This study consolidates the opinions of subject matter experts and program managers through a wide range of interviewees within AFRL. Data analysis and extensive literature review led to conclusions such as: it is believed that there is no difference in war fighter capability and delivery between internally and externally developed systems; and internal efforts provide better personnel capability, but the current status quo is sufficient. It was also revealed that a majority of AFRL personnel feel pressure to always develop externally. Recommendations include that: AFRL foster an environment where the best acquisition method for the government is chosen; AFRL design an internal contract plan to keep internal efforts on target; and AFRL invest in further concurrent development efforts.

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