The Contractor Cost Data Reporting (CCDR) system is one of several systems for collecting DoD cost data that were established to meet the rising demand for records of actual cost experiences. Such costs form the bases of projections of the costs of future weapon systems. The CCDR system, now more than twenty years old, has regulatory weaknesses and has experienced implementation failures. This IDA study was initiated to determine what improvements could be made in the quality and usefulness of data collected by this system. IDA concluded that defense cost analysts need actual cost data and will get it one way or another, and that, although the quality and usefulness of CCDR data have declined, alternative collection methods would cost more than the existing system. We found that impediments to use of CCDR data were not insurmountable. We offer recommendations for rebuilding confidence in the data, providing ready access to it, and increasing utility and knowledge of and experience with these data.