Successful Integration of Commercial Derivative Aircraft (CDA)

July 10th, 2012|NEWS: SME Insight|

By Dr. Bill Stockman

Today in the Department of Defense (DOD), many of the largest acquisition programs are intended to be low-risk purchases of existing airframes to meet military requirements. Examples include the new presidential aircraft and helicopter, Navy maritime patrol aircraft, US Air Force (USAF) rescue and utility helicopters, and the USAF tanker. Yet, recent history has shown these “low risk” programs are anything but low risk—they are fraught with acquisition difficulties, development challenges and production issues—often worse than new development programs.

The intent of The Commercial Derivative Aircraft (CDA) Acquisition Guide and the book, Successful Integration of Commercial Systems—A Study of Commercial Derivative Systems, is to provide guidance and discussion of how commercial derivative aircraft (CDA) play a significant role in the past, present and future military force structures.

“Commercial Derivative Aircraft (CDA)
Acquisition Guide”

November 2009

“Successful Integration of Commercial Systems: A Study of Commercial Derivative Systems”
by Bill Stockman, Milt Ross, Rob Bongiovi and Gregg Sparks

At its simplest, a commercial derivative product is anything that was developed and produced for public use (or previous military use) that might also have a military application. The basic theory is that the military may save schedule and development costs by adapting a commercial product to meet a military requirement. On the surface, this sounds like a good, relatively easy, and inexpensive approach. Yet there are many recent examples where the CDA approach resulted in canceled programs, cost overruns and expensive life cycle costs. This book presents the clear reasons for these negative outcomes: The DOD often fails to learn the basic rules of CDA acquisition and sustainment strategy; or fails to practically implement them.

We hope that current and future acquisition professionals will use the guide and text book as a primer for CDA programs. Recognizing lessons learned from the past will help to ensure the success of CDA programs in the future.