DoD Major Weapons Acquisition

guest post by Ilsm

According to GAO 11-394T 17 Feb 2011 , DoD Major Weapons Acquisition continues to be a high risk item watched by GAO. In the testimony the GAO is concerned about waste and mismanagement in the 102 largest DoD acquisition programs. The testimony states that in the five years starting in 2011 that $300B are spent by the programs GAO reviews annually, while the rest of the Trillion plus dollars in the budget for those years is to develop and acquire things in DoD and are smaller programs which are far less well managed, whose decisions are made less formally and whose engineering has much less experience and authority to do the job well.

From 2011 through 2015 the DoD will spend appropriations totaling $1.1 Trillion dollars for R&D and Buying new war making stuff. If recent reviews hold, none of it will be spent well.

I have followed the GAO annual reports over the past several years. Refer to GAO 10-388sp, 30 Mar 2010: Assessment of Selected Weapon System Programs.

Some of the findings: few of the 102 major programs, about $300B in funds the next 5 years, met statutory requirements to have their Selected Acquisition Reports (SAR) to Congress by May 2009, most had not delivered their SAR by Nov 2009 when GAO needed the data to do the report.

Specific observations: cost over growth is hard to measure this year as the management is too late with data, decisions on spending money for systems are consistently made without sufficient “product knowledge” or without managing the technical work using Congress’ required configuration steering boards (CSB), nor managing the programs’ system engineering and finally with too many requirements change (which ironically is not much of an issue since the programs were not managed by knowledge or understanding of the performance of the configurations).

Pretty revealing and no one makes any changes even though congress adds to its direction the programs are not managed.

No one will kill a bad program.

No wonder DoD cannot pass an audit.

I have a note on my calendar to look for the March 2011 release to see if anything is better