Bending the Cost Curve (BTCC) is a targeted initiative to encourage innovation through active industry engagements to improve the way we procure our systems and to drive down cost.  Weapon system costs are escalating, and development times are increasing at a rate that is unsustainable given fiscal realities.  The Air Force is committed to engaging industry partners in finding solutions. Aligning to the Air Force Strategy, bending the cost curve to a sustainable path includes building strategic agility in all of our acquisition activities.

In practice, BTCC consists of a growing and evolving set of acquisition reform activities that are defined in collaboration with industry, focus on promptly achieving tangible actions, and emphasize measurable outcomes. New activities are added to the BTCC portfolio approximately every six months. These activities are categorized in one or more of the following priorities:

  1. Enhance interactions with industry throughout the acquisition lifecycle.
  2. Expand competition among traditional and non-traditional defense contractors.
  3. Improve internal Air Force acquisition practices.

The Acting Secretary of the Air Force Ms. Lisa Disbrow and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen David L. Goldfein are committed to making every Air Force dollar count and to maximizing the buying power of increasingly scarce resources. They have stressed the need for “strategic agility” in executing vital Air Force functions, particularly within acquisition processes. Under current conditions, Air Force weapon system costs are escalating and development times are increasing at rates that are unsustainable.

During the Spring of 2014, Air Force leaders issued direction to the Acquisition Community to intensify its communications and collaborations with defense industry leaders to address the rising costs and prolonged development times of weapon systems. In so doing, we are seeking to “bend the cost curve” to ensure weapons and other systems required to support the Air Force today and  in decades to come are affordable and available to the warfighter in a timely manner. 

As the military is drawing down from two decades of persistent operations, and more than a decade at war, the Military Services are assessing current and future combat needs.  While some uncertainty is always anticipated in these situations, our world is experiencing an unprecedented growth in the emergence of disruptive technologies. Rapid commercial innovations present an opportunity for the Air Force and broader defense community, but new adversaries are also obtaining and exploiting these innovations like never before. In its current form, the Air Force acquisition process is too rigid and slow to effectively take advantage of or protect against emerging global technologies – and costs continue to rise.

In furtherance of the need for strategic agility, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, ​Ms. Darlene Costello, and the Commander of Air Force Materiel Command, General Ellen Pawlikowski, are committed to making the Air Force the most agile and effective acquisition force in government. To that end, they oversee the Bending the Cost Curve (BTCC) Initiative to implement a continuous engagement process with industry and internal stakeholders. The purpose of these engagements is to identify, test, and implement multiple acquisition reforms that strive to reduce costs and development times for current and future weapon systems.

BTCC Activities:
Approximately every six months, new activities are added to the BTCC portfolio with each six-month period considered a “round.” It is understood and accepted that these projects will evolve, conclude, and often fail over time. This website will record outcomes for each project and note any changes along the way.

BTCC Round 1 Activities (February 2014)

  • Dialogue with industry on best practices to reduce contract award time
  • Dialogue with industry on best practices for acquisitions of information technology

BTCC Round 2 Activities (September 2014)

BTCC Round 3 Activities (February 2015)

BTCC Round 4 Activities (October 2015)

BTCC Round 5 Activities (May 2016)

BTCC Round 6 Activities (Oct 2016)

BTCC Round 7 Activities (February 2017)


Bending the Cost Curve (BTCC)

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