Defense Acquisition:

Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Offers Lessons for Successful Programs

NSIAD-90-160: Published: Sep 6, 1990. Publicly Released: Oct 9, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Navy's management of its Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) program, focusing on program management features that contributed to the program's success.

GAO found that: (1) the five interrelated features that contributed to FBM success were funding and program stability, life-cycle responsibility, continuity of key personnel, program office technical expertise, and effective management practices; (2) there was no guaranteed approach to a successful defense acquisition; (3) other defense acquisition programs studied had their own particular opportunities and problems, but the successful programs shared more of the features associated with the FBM program than the less successful programs; (4) acquisition programs' success or lack thereof was the result of multiple causes; and (5) major savings are possible in the development of weapon systems if the Department of Defense broadly emulates the acquisition procedures used in outstanding commercial programs.

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