"ALE provided us with needed expertise and support to substantially improve our proposal. They were professional, flexible, and knowledgeable."
-System Architect/Engineer, Proposal Support
Acquisition Logistics Engineering's (ALE) ability to significantly reduce system Life Cycle Cost (LCC) was clearly demonstrated during the concept phase study on the US Coast Guard's National Distress and Response System Modernization Program (NDRSMP), later known as Rescue 21. NDRSMP was a modernization of the USCG's capability to communicate with recreational, commercial, and Government vessels operating within 20 miles of the US coast line. The upgraded system not only filled in any communication "dead spots" that existed around the coastline, it also provided new capabilities, such as direction finding. With direction finding capabilities the vessels no longer were relied on to know their current location when calling for assistance. The shore based NSRDMP system would be able to instantly pinpoint their location, thereby allowing a more rapid response. In addition, Government assets (watercraft and aircraft) could be continuously tracked by NDRSMP operators to enhance the emergency response effort.
ALE led the Lockheed Martin NDRSMP LCC team that identified which system requirements most impacted LCC and system operational availability. Providing this insight on critical system requirements allowed the USCG to make informed decisions on the final system requirements that were the basis of the production phase.
At the onset of the concept study, initial system requirements were defined, but the detailed system architectures were in their infancy. Using front-end cost modeling techniques, the ALE-led team established a cost baseline that became the basis of initial cost driver analysis and supported design and supportability trade-off studies. The cost driver analysis utilized sensitivity analysis techniques to identify those requirements that, if changed slightly, had the greatest impact on LCC and system operational availability. This effort discovered that over 25% of the NDRSMP's LCC was driven by a single requirement, Operational Availability. In fact, if the requirement were revised by less than 0.5% the total program LCC could be lowered by 25%. The 25% reduction amounted to a $500 Million dollar cost avoidance and made the system affordable.
In addition to the system requirements insights, the ALE-led LCC program supported a detailed analysis of alternative equipment and software, system tower locations, and tower capabilities. For example, an alternative tower design was implemented based on LCC program results to reduce system complexity and avoid over building the system. The end result was an NDRSMP system definition that provided the best value to the US Coast Guard.