Acquisition Reform:

Implementing Defense Management Review Initiatives

NSIAD-91-269: Published: Aug 8, 1991. Publicly Released: Aug 8, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) efforts to establish a new management structure and make changes to its major weapons acquisition systems, focusing on: (1) DOD progress in implementing a presidential advisory commission's recommendations to establish clear accountability over its weapons acquisitions and provide unambiguous authority over its acquisition programs; and (2) related DOD initiatives that address the government's and defense industry's relationship.

GAO found that: (1) DOD established clear channels of command by reducing the number of management levels in its acquisition system and creating an Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition position; (2) the newly established acquisition structure streamlined and centralized acquisition processes and reduced some formal reporting requirements; (3) DOD began a process for projecting its future spending by using more realistic funding assumptions; (4) DOD did not fully implement its acquisition work-force reduction plans; (5) DOD began implementing the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act, which is intended to improve the quality of the acquisition work force; (6) the change in national security threats reduces the DOD justification for concurrent development and production of major weapons systems and supports the advisory commission's acquisition strategy that favors increased prototype usage; (7) although DOD made significant changes to its acquisition management structure and system, the success of those changes will depend on strong leadership, strengthened internal controls, and the free-flow of information; and (8) DOD implemented such initiatives to improve its relationship with the defense industry as integrating a finance plan, developing a contractor risk assessment guide, establishing defense enterprise programs, using commercial products, and consolidating certain acquisition activities.

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