ANSER has a 30-year history of supporting formal analyses of alternatives (AoAs) for the Department of Defense and other U.S. Government clients, including eight major AoAs and/or alternatives analyses (AAs) within the last 10 years. These AoAs have shaped the acquisition and/or modification of strategic systems (for example, air-launched cruise missiles), support systems (including the UH-1N missile support helicopter), aircraft (such as the transformational V-22 tilt-rotor), information technology systems (DHS’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System), sophisticated detectors (e.g., equipment used to prevent the illicit entry of nuclear and radiological materials at ports of entry), and other types of systems. These analyses help identify optimal solution development paths and key performance thresholds.

ANSER is capable of performing the full range of AoA activities: defining and characterizing alternatives, constructing meaningful metrics (measures of performance and mission effectiveness), developing scenarios, estimating life-cycle costs, and identifying and analyzing risks. In some cases, ANSER staff are integrated into Government-led teams; in other cases, ANSER provides the entire team—including the study lead, who works closely with the Government to develop appropriate assumptions, scope the effort, and deliver the results.

NOAA WP-3D Orion N42RF “Hurricane Hunter”; Photo Credit: NOAA/Lynne Gratz

Photo Credit: NOAA/Lynne Gratz

In a recent example, ANSER conducted an AoA for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which operates an aging fleet of WP-3D hurricane and atmospheric research aircraft. This AoA study addressed the full range of NOAA missions that could be supported by a replacement platform (including alternatives other than manned aircraft), assessed sensor and platform combinations that would be available by 2030, and identified supporting technology development programs that could help minimize risk.

More broadly, ANSER experts have prepared and/or contributed to U.S. Air Force and DHS guidebooks that represent these organizations’ store of knowledge regarding the conduct of AoAs. In addition, we have performed countless AoA-like studies of costs and benefits associated with decisions that lie outside the realm of material acquisition.