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Budgets | Issues - Political | Official Reports | Policy - Procurement | USA

GAO Highlights The Consequences of Starting More Programs Than DoD Can Afford

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From GAO-05-891T (July 12/05) – Space Acquisitions: Stronger Development Practices and Investment Planning Needed to Address Continuing Problems [Text summary | full PDF]: “There is a widespread belief among DOD and other officials involved with space programs that DOD starts more programs than it can afford in the long run, forcing programs to underestimate costs and over-promise capability and creating a host of negative incentives and pressures. Specifically, officials we have spoken with cited the following. * Because programs are funded annually and priorities have not been established, competition for funding continues over time, forcing programs to view success as the ability to secure the next installment rather than the end goal of delivering capabilities when and as promised. * Concurrently, when faced with lower budgets, senior executives within the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Air Force would rather make across-the-board cuts to all space programs than hard decisions as to which ones to keep and which ones to cancel or cut back. * Having to continually “sell” a program creates incentives to suppress bad news about a program’s status and avoid activities that uncover bad news. * When combined with the high cost of launching demonstrators […]

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