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AFLCMC delivers savings and efficiency through analytics

An F-15E Strike Eagle from the 334th Fighter Squadron, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base N.C., takes off from the runway at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., June 22, 2015. Fourteen F-15E Strike Eagles from Seymour Johnson AFB trained with F-35A Lightning IIs, F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolt IIs throughout southern Arizona’s military operating areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Massey/Released)

The F-15 Eagle Passive/Active Warning & Survivability System was one of six pilot programs across the Air Force portfolio selected to be evaluated by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. The Cost Capability Analysis team identified more than $1.7 billion in potential cost savings. (U.S. Air Force photo / Airman 1st Class Chris Massey)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Headquarters located at Wright Patterson Air Force Base plays a direct and diverse role in supporting the warfighter by managing numerous critical programs and weapon systems which "Provide the Warfighter's Edge." 

As part of its commitment to deliver capabilities at reduced cost, drive cost-effective execution and create greater agility, the AFLCMC's Operations Research and Analysis Division serves as a Cost Capability Analysis, or CCA, Center of Excellence for the Air Force.

Cost Capability Analysis investigates the tradeoffs between the cost of different systems or programs and the warfighting capabilities they yield. 

"In its simplest terms, CCA involves taking a quantitative look at what you are getting for the money you are spending," said Maj. Christina Obergfell, CCA branch chief. "It is our goal to provide insights to senior leader decisions by facilitating a cross-enterprise dialogue between acquisition and requirements personnel that helps us understand the cost verses capability tradespace. Bottom-line: How do we get the best investment for the dollar?"  

As part of the Department of Defense's Efficiency Initiative, the origins of today's CCA program stemmed from a 2011 discussion amongst Air Force's most senior leadership. They wanted to explore what sort of standards or processes could be put into practice to help garner more affordability around programs that were becoming increasingly expensive and time consuming. The goal was to improve understanding of weapon system requirements and their impact on cost and cycle time using explicit steps to consider affordability in the requirements and acquisitions processes. 

"We have developed an eleven-step Cost Capability Analysis standard process," said Obergfell.  "We are the primary unit in the Air Force utilizing this process to help leaders make informed data driven decisions about weapon system requirements." 

Six pilot programs across the Air Force portfolio were initially selected to be evaluated using CCA. Those programs included Global Aircrew Strategic Network Terminal, Three Dimensional Expeditionary Long Range Radar, Advanced Pilot Training Systems, Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, Presidential Aircraft Recap and the F-15 Eagle Passive/Active Warning & Survivability System. Upon completion, the identified cost savings across these programs was more than $1 billion. 

However, CCA goes far beyond potential cost savings.

"It's not only about saving money," said. Dr. Ted Lewis, Chief, Operations Research Division, "It's about really understanding what the requirements are, why they are in place, what the associated risks include, and how they impact operational effectiveness."

In some cases potential cost savings identified through CCA will be waived if the operational risk associated with that savings is too great. The process involves carefully examining the tradeoff between the two components and assessing the impact on the warfighter. 

In fiscal year 2016 alone, the CCA team has already provided more than 15 training sessions across 10 organizations at nine different locations. They have also garnered tremendous savings.  For the CCA pilot programs alone, they identified $3.7 billion in savings, and the potential to garner savings to other programs is ever-growing. They have received requests to support a number of programs including F-35 Modernization Block 4, Air Launched Control System and the Cyber Mission Rehearsal Environment.