DOD Acquisition:

Information on Joint Major Programs

NSIAD-89-158: Published: Jul 17, 1989. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) joint major defense acquisition programs, focusing on the: (1) status of joint major programs; (2) questions concerning memoranda of agreement (MOA); and (3) the Office of the Secretary of Defense's (OSD) role in joint efforts and whether that role should be strengthened.

GAO found that: (1) at the end of fiscal year (FY) 1988, DOD had 34 joint major programs, which it defined as programs having $200 million in research and development funding or $1 billion in total procurement costs; (2) although OSD identified 51 programs as joint and major during FY 1979 through 1989, 17 programs did not meet the dollar threshold or no longer met joint program criteria; (3) OSD played a major role in initiating the greatest number of those programs and in reviewing and identifying major programs for potential joint participation; (4) of the 34 programs, 4 had multiservice or joint participation for 20 years or more, 9 were joint for 11 to 20 years, 13 were joint for 6 to 10 years, and 8 were joint for 5 years or less; (5) 27 joint major programs had a total of 109 MOA; (6) three programs involved circumstances where service participation failed to comply with MOA terms and one program had a participating service withdraw but remained joint because another service continued to participate; (7) although DOD did not require MOA in joint programs, they covered a variety of topics, and did not discourage participating services from abrogating MOA; and (8) there was no need to strengthen the OSD role in joint major programs.

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