Client: Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate
Mission Area: Counterterrorism, Borders, and Immigration
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is under intense pressure to make cost-effective choices and to justify its acquisition decisions. This is not an easy task. The department must acquire complicated systems that operate in complex environments and perform tasks for which there are few meaningful performance measures. Nonetheless, the decision to acquire one solution over another must be backed by rigorous analysis and withstand considerable scrutiny. Analysis of alternatives (AoA) and the closely related alternatives analysis are important elements of a defensible acquisition process.
The Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute (HSSAI), including its Operations Analysis Division, has focused heavily on performing acquisition analyses for DHS over the past three years.
Based on these and related efforts, the Operations Analysis Division prepared a nonprescriptive, quick-reference publication that summarizes the purpose of AoAs, highlights important considerations for DHS in structuring these analyses, and lists key guidance documents and other relevant information resources. It is intended to complement DHS-specific guidance describing its acquisition process requirements and other sources such as the Air Force Office of Aerospace Studies Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) Handbook: A Practical Guide to Analyses of Alternatives.
HSSAI has already seen considerable interest in the document from DHS operating components and headquarters elements. For that reason, the Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) Methodologies: Considerations for DHS Acquisition Analysis was approved for public release and is now available on the Analytic Services Inc. and HSSAI public websites.
The potential client base interested in such analyses is enormous. It includes most operating components within DHS, the Defense Department, and headquarters elements involved in planning, programming, and budgeting processes. Moreover, this project illustrates Analytic Services’ expertise in Decision Analytics a differentiating capability that includes efforts to evaluate progress toward mission objectives, choose among competing material and nonmaterial solutions, and evaluate costs, benefits, and risks. The general approach and techniques applied in AoAs and alternatives analyses can support a wide range of decisions.