The Defense Department’s cost assessment and program evaluation office is improving cooperation between the Pentagon and contractors to help ensure acquisition programs are kept on track, said Jamie Morin, CAPE director. The office is working closely with contractors on issues like data collection, he said on Sept. 15 at AFA’s Air & Space Conference outside of Washington, D.C. By using data multiple times rather than having different organizations gather the same information, CAPE will be able to move from spending time collecting contract information to conducting its real value-added activities, said Morin. He also highlighted the recovery military space programs have made since 2008 when costs on many of them rose between 200 percent and 300 percent in certain areas and sometimes peaked at more than 600 percent. Due to actions like better management and cost tracking, even once problematic Air Force programs have stabilized to where cost increases are low compared to projected program estimates, he said. Many of those programs are now in production, which means no expensive research and development expenditures will pop up, said Morin.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.