The latest report, a continuing subject for GAO, observes that “A Knowledge Based Funding Approach COULD Improve Weapon System Acquisition Outcomes”.
From an economic, as well as a cost accounting, perspective how could anyone spend anyone else’s money without rudimentary knowledge of WHAT they could get for the MONEY? What kind of system works without knowledge? Where does truth come in the knowledge equation?
The gist of the report is that acquisition managers continuously accept less money than they need and accept the responsibility to make things happen. Then, not being miracle workers; they have to take MUCH longer, get MUCH LESS performance and spend far MORE money than had they been given “enough” money to start with.
From my experience it is like the old “Name That Tune” game show. Only in the case of defense acquisitions the acquisition manager, who will be gone before anyone realizes her mistakes, assures everyone the tune can be named in 5 notes, takes the money for the 5 notes and then after she is gone on to an ever more important assignment it is discovered that the tune needed closer to 20 notes to figure out and then a few dozen more notes to get the job done.
GAO notes that budgeting too little money results in more money and time to do the job. Like weight on airplanes time drives cost as the defense establishment has lots of overhead and is often wrongfully viewed as a national asset which its mere existence, even inept, is worth the taxpayers’ dough.
You can read the report about the need to have more knowledge of what is required and more knowledge of what the industry can do. Neither of which are coming any time soon.
But not to worry, the F-35 will still be not needed when it is delivered ten years after the first acquisition managers said they could whittle that beak in 5 years for $120B.
All they are doing is whittling beaks…………………….
This one by reader ilsm
Rdan here: ilsm has been using GAO reports as a vehicle to explain his experience in the industry over this series as agreed to with cactus but formed with my moderating. There has been some concern that his explanations are too biased in particular ways, but I do not know whether this stems from this series or previous postings from last years.
As a confirmed conscientious objector (Navy based childhood and 1-0 exemption), I have no expertise in the matter except to help with damage from operations. If someone has a counter-factual, send the posts.