May 1, 2008  

Flunked again

TO THE PENTAGON, for scoring a D-minus after the latest examination of its weapons program acquisition practices. When major development programs from ships to satellites to aircraft each face similar delays and overruns, clearly there is a systemic problem. The Defense Department has roughly doubled its planned investment in new systems from $790 billion in 2000 to $1.6 trillion in 2007, but the Government Accountability Office says it’s getting less for more. Flagship acquisition programs cost significantly more, take longer to produce and deliver less than promised. Although new Pentagon leadership initiatives have been established to address acquisition woes, the changes aren’t getting down to where they are needed, at the program management level. The department is wasting investment dollars and getting further behind on meeting critical capability requirements. The Pentagon must fix these acquisition issues now.