Living Within One’s Means: Revisiting Defense Acquisition and Affordability

In Living within One’s Means, authors Christopher Bassler, Matthew McCarton, Travis Sharp, and Josh Chang analyze past vertical lift acquisition programs, current acquisition trends, and new acquisition methods in the digital age to apply all three to the FVL effort. Drawing upon these analyses and the results of a CSBA workshop (held under the Chatham House rule), the authors find that while past attempts to enhance affordability have been unsuccessful, new digital approaches, such as the Modular Open Systems Architecture (MOSA), may hold costs down while diversifying opportunities for new technologies and subsystem solutions. The authors also discuss the risks of deferring or cutting new helicopter designs, both in the face of adversaries and the technological limitations of current rotary-wing designs.