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Contracting Strategy for F-22 Modernization DODIG-2018-089

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Objective:

We determined whether the U.S. Air Force effectively managed the modernization of the F-22 Raptor (F-22) fleet. Specifically, we reviewed the F-22 Program Office’s implementation of Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). SAFe is a software development method that uses short time periods to develop smaller portions of software that contribute to the final product.

Background:

The Air Force F-22 is a fighter aircraft that incorporates stealth capability in the performance of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. In 2003, the Air Force established a modernization program to add enhanced capabilities. The Air Force divided the F-22 modernization program into 10 separate programs, with each providing multiple capabilities that included both hardware and software development. The Program Office used several software development methods for F-22 modernization. These methods resulted in the identification of numerous deficiencies late in development and correction of the deficiencies required additional software updates. This also led to F-22 modernization schedule delays to allow time to complete the testing on the additional updates. To identify deficiencies quicker and deliver capabilities faster, the Program Office implemented agile software development methods on future F-22 modernization. Agile Software development methods use close collaboration, and frequent delivery of software updates. The Program Office specifically chose to use an agile software development method known as SAFe.

Findings:

The U.S. Air Force did not effectively manage the modernization of the F-22 Raptor fleet. Specifically, the Program Office did not update its contracting strategy for SAFe implementation on F-22 modernization programs. This occurred because Program Office officials have not identified the appropriate contracting strategy to best incentivize the contractor when using SAFe. In addition, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, and the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Acquisition have not issued policy for implementing agile software development methods on weapon system acquisitions. As a result, without an appropriate contracting strategy, the Program Office may not deliver F-22 modernized capabilities necessary to sustain air superiority against rapidly evolving U.S. adversaries.

Recommendations:

We recommend that the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics:

• Review and revise acquisition guidance to allow for the implementation of agile software development methods on programs that include both hardware and software development.

• Compile lessons learned from DoD programs implementing agile software development methods to share with other DoD programs.

We recommend that the F-22 Program Office:

• Determine the contracting strategy to best incentivize the contractor prior to awarding the order for the next modernization program.

• Document the lessons learned when developing the contracting strategy for use by other programs.

Management Comments and Our Response:

The Official Performing the Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, responding for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics; and the Director, Global Powers Program, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, responding for the F-22 Program Office, provided comments in response to a draft of this report. The Official Performing the Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, partially agreed with our recommendation to review and revise acquisition guidance and agreed with our recommendation to compile lessons learned from DoD programs implementing agile software development methods and share with other DoD programs. Therefore, the recommendations are resolved but remain open. We will close the recommendations once we verify that the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics has:

• reviewed and revised DoD guidance based on lessons learned and best practices to allow for the implementation of agile development methods on programs that include both hardware and software; and

• compiled lessons learned from acquisition programs implementing agile and has shared this information with other DoD programs.

 

The Director, Global Powers Program, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, agreed with our recommendations to determine the contracting strategy that best incentivizes the contractor and to document the lessons learned when developing the contracting strategy. Therefore, the recommendations are resolved but remain open. We will close the recommendations once we verify that the F-22 Program Office has:

• implemented the new contracting strategy; and

• documented lessons learned when developing the contracting strategy for agile implementation.


This report is a result of Project No. D2017-D000AT-0151.000.