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Budgets | Issues - Political | Official Reports | USA

GAO: 2008-09 Weapon Programs Report

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The US government’s GAO audit office has issued its 7th annual “Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs report (GAO-09-326SP). The report covers a total of 47 Pentagon weapons programs, compares their baseline against current costs and delivery schedule, and reports on these programs’ technical maturity, manufacturing maturity, and current issues. One interesting aspect of this year’s report is the GAO’s report that newer programs started in the last few years seem to be doing better than their predecessors. GAO has a definite position with respect to acquisition reform, one that complements recent Pentagon initiatives in some areas, and diverges in other areas… “Of DOD’s 96 active major defense acquisition programs, 64 programs have reported increases in their projected cost since their initial cost estimate. While there are different ways to measure the extent and nature of cost growth, there is agreement between DOD and us on the sources of the problem: (1) programs are started with poor foundations and inadequate knowledge for developing realistic cost estimates; (2) programs move forward with artificially low cost estimates, optimistic schedules and assumptions, immature technologies and designs, and fluid requirements; (3) changing or excessive requirements cause cost growth; and (4) an imbalance between […]

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