System Maturity Indices for Decision Support in the Defense Acquisition Process

Report Number: NPS-AM-08-030

Series: Acquisition Management

Category: System Readiness

Report Series: Proceedings Paper

Authors: Brian J. Sauser, Jose E. Ramirez-Marquez, Romulo B. Magnaye, Weiping Tan

Title: System Maturity Indices for Decision Support in the Defense Acquisition Process

Published: 2008-04-01

Sponsored By: Acquisition Research Program

Status: Published--Unlimited Distribution

Research Type: Other Research Faculty

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Keywords: Technology Readiness Level (TRL) Scale, System Readiness Level (SRL) Index, Integration Readiness Level (IRL)


The Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale is a measure of maturity of an individual technology, with a view towards operational use in a system context. A comprehensive set of concerns becomes relevant when this metric is abstracted from an individual technology to a system context, which may involve interplay among multiple technologies that are integrated through the defense acquisition process. This paper proposes the development of a system-focused approach for managing system development and making effective and efficient decisions during the defense acquisition process. For this to be accomplished, a new System Readiness Level (SRL) index will incorporate both the current TRL scale and the concept of an integration readiness level (IRL). This paper describes the foundations for the SRL and provides techniques for determining current and future readiness of a system to determine its position in the defense acquisition process. In addition, it proposes optimization models than can provide management with an optimal development plan that can meet the objectives of the development team, based on constrained resources. These, in turn, can become the foundation for the development of a monitoring and evaluation tool that will be analogous to Earned Value Management used in project management.