Over at National Defense Magazine, US National Defense Industry Association (NDIA) President Lawrence P. Farrell Jr. talks about the Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment (DAPA) reform project, which DID has covered. Despite the improvements made over the last 20 years – and there have been many of them – this was certainly a sobering set of statistics:
“Currently, more than 80 new major weapon systems are under development, with a combined cost growth of $300 billion and total acquisition cost of nearly $1.5 trillion. A recent Government Accountability Office study of 26 major acquisition programs suggests the top five programs have nearly doubled in cost during the last four years – in fact, skyrocketing from $281 billion to $521 billion. The trend is not abating – estimates of cost growth and development time of these same five programs grew 14.3 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively, in the past year alone, according to GAO. After more than 20 years of numerous attempts to improve the acquisition system, the perception is that no reforms have addressed systemic weaknesses in structure, process and governance of major weapon systems development.”
Reading that, it’s hard to disagree. Some of Farrell’s thoughts include:
Canada will be deploying more forces to Afghanistan soon, as part of its ongoing commitments to the NATO ISAF force. In February 2006, the Canadian Forces will increase its presence by deploying approximately 2,000 personnel to the volatile and dangerous region of Kandahar, which was once the seat of the Taliban/ al-Qaeda government. Before deploying, its Department of National Defence (DND) is purchasing C$ 234 million (USD $200 million) worth of equipment, including IED-resistant patrol vehicles, ATVs, modern artillery & GPS-guided munitions, UAVs, support equipment, and technologically advanced surveillance, security and communications systems.
Yet the most significant item may be the one that isn’t on this list, and the ordering/ delivery times raise questions as well. The DND orders for Operation ARCHER include:
Lockheed Martin, Maritime Systems and Sensors in Manassas, VA is exercising a $5.3 million option under previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee/ cost-plus-award-fee contract N00039-04-C-0035 for optional contract line item number 0003. This provides for a critical design, development and demonstration of a fully integrated Advanced Deployable System (ADS, System Development and Demonstration phase), and delivery for technical and operational evaluations. This increases the estimated cumulative value of the contract, if all options are exercised, from $239.1 million to $243.3 million.
The Naval Air Systems Command Aircraft Division in Patuxent River, MD awarded a pair of contracts for planning, programming, and financial support. The scope is to accomplish all aspects of program life cycle management necessary, in order to meet the acquisition responsibilities of its carrier-capable E-2C Hawkeye AWACS/ C-2 Greyhound cargo aircraft.
These modifications exercise an option under previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract, and combine purchases for the United States Navy and the governments of France, Taiwan, Egypt, Japan, and Singapore under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Additional FMS purchases may include the governments of the United Arab Emirates, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Thailand and Oman.