Military Standard B Perspective

Military Standard 499B [9.13] cites the following rationale for what are called trade studies:

Trade Studies (Para. 4.6.1). Desirable and practical trade-offs among stated user requirements, design, program schedule, functional and performance requirements, and life cycle costs shall be identified and executed. Trade-off studies shall be defined, conducted and documented at the various levels of functional or physical detail to support requirements, functional decomposition/allocation, and design alternative decisions or, as specifically designated, to support the decision needs of the systems engineering process. The level of detail of a study shall be commensurate with cost, schedule, performance, and risk impacts.

We note that trade-offs involving user requirements and other system characteristics are definitively called for. From this perspective, requirements are not necessarily assumed to be fixed and inviolate.

In the important area of synthesis, the standard identifies the following areas as important in terms of trade studies:

• Establish system/configuration item (CI) configuration(s).

• Assist in selecting system concepts and designs.

• Support make or buy, process, rate, and location decisions.

• Examine proposed changes.

• Examine alternative technologies to satisfy functional/design requirements, including alternatives for moderate- to high-risk technologies.

• Evaluate environmental and cost impacts of materials and processes.

• Support decisions for new products and process developments versus nondevelopmental items (NDI) or commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products and processes.

• Evaluate alternative physical architectures to select preferred products and processes.

• Support materials selection.

• Select standard components, techniques, services, and facilities that reduce system life-cycle cost and meet system effectiveness requirements (force structure and infrastructure impacts that emphasize supportabil-ity, producibility, training, deployment, and interoperability must be considered).

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