Home - Cost Assessment & Program Evaluation


Provide the Department of Defense with timely, insightful and unbiased analysis on resource allocation and cost estimation problems to deliver the optimum portfolio of military capabilities through efficient and effective use of each taxpayer dollar.


Susanna Blume
Performing the Duties of (PTDO) Director, CAPE

Susanna Blume is a former Senior Fellow and Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security. Her research areas included the Defense program and budget, defense posture and force management, and strategy and strategic planning.
Prior to joining CNAS, Ms. Blume served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs and Plans to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, whom she advised on programming and budget issues, global force management, operational and strategic planning, force posture, and acquisition policy. During this time, she served as Executive Secretary of the Deputy's Management Action Group, the Department's top resource decision making body. She also served in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Plans and Posture. During her years at DoD, Blume participated in two Quadrennial Defense Reviews, the 2013 Strategic Choices and Management Review, and six Program and Budget Review cycles.
Ms. Blume holds a master's degree in international studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, a law degree from the George Washington University Law School, and a bachelor's degree in the history of art from the Johns Hopkins University.


The Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) was established in 2009 as part of the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act (WSARA). The origins of the office date to 1961 with the establishment of the Office of Systems Analysis, which became the Office of Program Evaluation and Analysis in the mid-1970s. The CAPE staff consists of approximately 150 people, including both government civilians and military officers. The military officers serve in two- to three-year rotational assignments with the organization and are selected for both their operational and technical expertise. CAPE's civilian and military staff is highly educated, with backgrounds in a variety of academic disciplines, including physics, economics, engineering, mathematics, biology, computer science, and operations research. Approximately 42% of the analytic civilian staff holds a doctorate in their field, and a substantial share have prior military experience.

By law, the CAPE Director reports directly to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense, providing independent analytic advice on all aspects of the defense program, including alternative weapon systems and force structures, the development and evaluation of defense program alternatives, and the cost-effectiveness of defense systems.

CAPE is responsible for the management of the Department's programming process, including development of planning guidance (in conjunction with other organizations within the Office of the Secretary of Defense), production of applicable programming guidance, and direction of the annual program review. The ultimate product of the program review is the Future Years Defense Program - the authoritative statement of what the Department plans, year by year, in terms of force structure (how many ships, brigades and divisions, aircraft squadrons and wings, etc., we will operate), procurement (how many ships, tanks, aircraft, missiles, etc., we will buy), manpower (how many people, military and civilian, we plan to employ in each of the services and defense agencies), other supporting programs (such as R&D and military construction), and what it will all cost.

CAPE helps to shape the force in the long-term by providing analysis and advice on resource issues to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council as well as formulating study guidance for analyses of alternatives for major defense acquisition programs. In addition, CAPE plays a central role in conducting analyses and formulating alternatives for major DoD-wide assessments, such as the Quadrennial Defense Review and the Secretary's Strategic Portfolio Reviews.

At the direction of the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, or the Director, the CAPE team also conducts numerous special studies and offers advice in other areas, such as military medical care, school systems for military dependents, information technology, and defense economics. These special studies sometimes include support to other federal agencies, several of which have created their own program analysis groups modeled on CAPE.

As an independent advisor to the Secretary, CAPE conducts analyses to answer the critical questions needed to shape and implement the Secretary of Defense's priorities and direction. Toward that end, CAPE leads the necessary but often unpopular task of fitting the defense program to the budgetary limits set for the Department by the President and Congress. Consistent with its advisory role, the office has no direct decision authority or line responsibility and has no vested interest in any sector of the defense budget.

Public Reports

CAPE produces reports in accordance with WSARA 2009 and other guidance.
Title FY
FY 2019 Annual Report on Cost Assessment Activities
Release March, 2020.
PDF designed for doublesided printing, blank pages are intentional.
FY 2019
FY 2018 Annual Report on Cost Assessment Activities
Release May, 2019.
PDF designed for doublesided printing, blank pages are intentional.
FY 2018
FY 2017 Annual Report on Cost Assessment Activities
Released May, 2018.
PDF designed for doublesided printing, blank pages are intentional
FY 2017
FY 2016 Annual Report on Cost Assessment Activities
Released February, 2017.
PDF designed for doublesided printing, blank pages are intentional.
FY 2016
FY 2015 Annual Report on Cost Assessment Activities
Released February, 2016.
PDF designed for doublesided printing, blank pages are intentional.
FY 2015
FY 2014 Annual Report on Cost Assessment Activities
Released April, 2015.
PDF designed for doublesided printing, blank pages are intentional.
FY 2014
FY 2013 Annual Report on Cost Assessment Activities
Released April, 2014.
PDF designed for doublesided printing, blank pages are intentional.
FY 2013
FY 2012 Annual Report on Cost Assessment Activities
Released April, 2013.
PDF designed for doublesided printing, blank pages are intentional.
FY 2012
FY 2011 Annual Report on Cost Assessment Activities
Released May 7, 2012.
PDF designed for doublesided printing, blank pages are intentional.
FY 2011
FY 2010 Annual Report on Cost Assessment Activities
Released July 26, 2011.
PDF designed for doublesided printing, blank pages are intentional.
FY 2010
FY 2009 Annual Report on Cost Assessment Activities
Released June 2, 2010.
PDF designed for doublesided printing, blank pages are intentional.
FY 2009

Other Topical Reports
Additonal reports related to CAPE and WSARA
Title FY
DOD Cost Estimating Guide
Release December, 2020.
PDF designed for doublesided printing, blank pages are intentional.
FY 2020
Operating and Support Cost-Estimating Guide
Released September 2020.
FY 2020
Inflation And Escalation Best Practices For Cost Analysis
Released January 2017.
   - eMail (Feedback) for comments and questions eMailOSD Pentagon CAPE mailbox Inflation
FY 2017
Inflation And Escalation Best Practices For Cost Analysis
Released April 2016.
FY 2016
Organizational Structure Review of the
Personnel Accounting Community
Released July 2014.
FY 2014
Study of DoD's Cost Indices
IDA produced this report in accordance with WSARA

Released May 9, 2012.
PDF designed for doublesided printing, blank pages are intentional.
FY 2010 - 2012
FY2020 DoD Budget Request (Base and OCO Funding)

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget request is a major milestone to a more lethal, agile, and innovative Joint Force and operationalizes the National Defense Strategy (NDS) to provide the combat-credible military forces needed for the U.S. to deter or defeat great power adversaries. This budget builds on progress from the sustained funding increases Congress provided in the FY 2017, FY 2018, and FY 2019 budgets to repair damaged readiness and marks a key next step in how we develop, posture and employ the joint force to deter or defeat great power adversaries well into the future. The FY 2020 budget will strengthen our competitive advantage and shape our military to succeed in this new era of great power competition by supporting continued implementation of the NDS.

The DoD FY 2020 defense budget executes the NDS by reprioritizing resources and shifting investments to prepare for a potential future, high-end fight. This budget resources the following four focus areas to build a more lethal, agile, and innovative joint force:

  1. Investing in the emerging space and cyber warfighting domains to prepare for a complex security environment.
  2. Modernizing capabilities in the air, maritime, and land domains to enhance lethality.
  3. Innovating rapidly in key operational areas to strengthen our competitive advantage
  4. Sustaining our forces and building on our readiness gains to prepare for current operational commitments and future threats.

Related CAPE Web Sites

Useful Links

Employment Opportunities

Working for CAPE


CAPE is part "think tank," part consulting firm, and part investigative agency. Our employees all wear the broad job title of Operations Research Analyst, reflecting the breadth of issues being considered within the Department of Defense on a day-to-day basis.
CAPE is seeking highly talented professionals with graduate education in quantitative fields, as well as demonstrated analytical ability. Since the issues CAPE works with tend to be broad, it is necessary to have a desire and ability to see the big picture and to rapidly acquire knowledge beyond a particular field of expertise. An excellent ability to communicate, both orally and in writing, is essential.
CAPE has professionals in the fields of mathematics, physics, biochemistry, molecular biology, chemistry, aeronautical engineering, computer science, economics, and many other related technical fields.
CAPE periodically has vacancies for Schedule B Excepted Service Operations Research Analysts in a variety of areas, which can include:
  1. Analyzing proposed systems related to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (degree in the physical sciences, engineering, math, or operations research desired)
  2. Developing metrics for the Secretary of Defense
  3. Performing campaign analyses in the assessment of programs
  4. Preparing independent cost estimates of current and proposed DoD systems
  5. Analyzing proposed tactical aircraft systems

Operations Research Analyst (SAWD)

Open Period: February 25, 2021 to March 4, 2021
Pay Plan-Series: GS - 14 (FPL 15)
Salary Range: $122,530 to $159,286 Per Year

This vacancy announcement is for potential position in Strategic Analysis and Wargaming Division
Summary This position is in the Office of the Director, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE). The Director, CAPE is the principal staff advisor and assistant to the Secretary of Defense for planning, analysis, and evaluation of the Defense Program, including formulating the force planning, fiscal, and policy guidance upon which DoD force and program projections are based; analyzing and evaluating planned and proposed military forces, weapons systems and major programs; preparing independent cost analyses of major DoD programs and weapon system acquisitions; evaluating U.S. and foreign force capabilities; developing and evaluating alternative forces and programs; and identifying the key issues and developing information and analyses for use by the Secretary of Defense in decision-making.
The primary purpose of this position is to serve as an Operations Research Analyst in the Strategic Analysis and Warfighting Division (SAWD). The Division supports the Department of Defense (DoD) leadership’s decision making by providing analytic insights on the Department’s ability to achieve its priority objectives. With a focus on warfighting context, SAWD explores the range of potential futures and key variables to ensure that DoD’s limited resources support feasible and affordable future concepts and plans. Responsibilities May Include:
  • Analyzing wargaming, analytic tools, scenarios, models, and simulations.
  • Designing and/or conducting studies and analyses of the capabilities of U.S., allied, and potential enemy forces.
  • Applying a variety of analytical approaches to solve mission focused policy, methodological, and/or administrative problems in a fast -paced environment.
  • Presenting the findings of analytical products to senior leaders and non-technical audiences, clearly and concisely.
  • Ensuring the techniques used are valid and appropriate to the problem or issue identified. Executes analysis per approved/valid/appropriate methodologies.
  • Conducting analysis in a programming or statistical software suite such as R, Python, Excel, AI/ML techniques, MATLAB, ArcGIS (specific requirements may vary).
  • Performing independently and/or acting as a senior analyst in a team setting. As a GS 14, expected to be a subject matter expert advising senior leaders on methodological or analytical issues.

View Job Details