The past decade has seen incredible growth in the amount of money spent by the United States on its national defense. The U.S. defense budget is now at its highest level, in inflation-adjusted terms, since World War II. When including war costs, defense expenditures have increased 86% since September 2001.
A key reason for skyrocketing costs is the inefficiency of the Department of Defense's weapons acquisitions process. In mid-2008, the Government Accountability Office released three reports examining the problem. All three reports are based on a GAO assessment of 72 weapons programs, none of which satisfied GAO's standards for a successful, efficient program. GAO's analyses serve as a resounding critique of DOD's ineffective and extremely costly acquisitions process.
GAO found that while acquisition costs have gone up 120% in the past fifteen years, the number of new systems has not mirrored that growth. When the military fails to acquire new technologies, it is forced to spend money renovating existing "legacy" systems, which only compounds the problem because then the government must pay to develop and operate both "old" and "new" components that don't work well together.
Monday, June 16, 2008
A Flawed Process
The Iraqi Insider provides an interesting post on the Pentagon’s fundamentally flawed weapons acquisition process. An excerpt: