Effort Delayed as DOD Adopts New Approach to Balance Requirements, Costs, and Schedule

February 27, 2012

The formal start of the VXX presidential helicopter program has been delayed, as finding an acceptable solution has proved elusive. Last year, we reported that the VXX effort was in the earliest stages of development--still developing a business case to launch product development. At that time, an AOA—required for a Milestone A decision initiating the program—was nearing completion and a Milestone A decision was expected to occur sometime in fiscal year 2011. In March 2011 the Navy sent DOD its VXX AOA study, which Navy officials stated was done in compliance with DOD-provided guidance. DOD did not, however, approve the study as it did not find that the study provided a cost effective solution. Rather, OSD and the Navy subsequently decided to update the analysis of alternatives using an acquisition strategy that might result in a more timely and affordable program using additional guidance provided by OSD in December 2011. That guidance reflects insights on requirements gained in the last year and expectations of using a streamlined acquisition approach proposed by the Navy. This has delayed the VXX program's entry into development. Navy officials expect that this new AOA will identify a solution that sets a foundation for achieving a solid initial business case with a rational balance between requirements, costs, and schedule—an acquisition best practice and something that was missing from the terminated VH-71 program. 

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