Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Christina L. Bloebaum


The acquisition of weapon systems in Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs) is an extremely complex procedure involving hundreds of thousands of individuals, right from contracting through design and manufacturing to the sustainment and finally the disposal of the system. The complete acquisitions process involves a number of milestones spanning the entire life of the program. Traditionally, all defense acquisition programs follow a requirements-driven systems engineering approach, where requirements are formed by the buyer or the Department of Defense (DoD), and a cost-based method is generally used to award contracts and develop systems in a bid to minimize costs. However, even with an approach that focuses on cost, there usually exist tremendous budget overruns and time delays in the development of such large scale complex weapon systems, which has been a major concern for the government in recent times.

Recently, there has been a shift of focus from cost-based acquisitions to a price-based and performance-based approach, however, the underlying idea behind these methods is still the fulfillment of requirements. These approaches have their own shortcomings, and problems with MDAPs still persist. Value-Driven Design is a new design philosophy that intends to capture the true preferences of stakeholders by means of a meaningful mathematical function called value function as opposed to using requirements which only serve as proxies to the true preferences. Researchers have proposed the use of value-based approaches for the acquisition of weapon systems in recent times.

This thesis exploits the use of these new approaches in the negotiations phase of defense acquisition, which forms a crucial phase just before the final contract is written. The first part of this research looks at a transition from requirements to value, by proposing a price and performance-based value approach to defense acquisitions, whereas the second part is based completely on value. The aim of the research is to maximize the payoffs to both the government and the contractor developing the weapon system for the government. In this research, the ideas of bargaining from game theory have been proposed in an effort to provide a mathematical foundation to negotiations.


Copyright Owner

Garima Vinay Bhatia



File Format


File Size

99 pages