A Critique of the Performance of the Defense Systems Acquisition Review Council:

Billions in Public Funds Involved

PSAD-78-14: Published: Jan 30, 1978. Publicly Released: Jan 30, 1978.

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The Defense Systems Acquisition Review Council (DSARC) advises the Secretary of Defense on the acquisition of major defense systems, reviews the status of individual programs, and formulates recommendations to the Secretary of Defense. It has conducted over 178 reviews since it began in 1969, and some programs have required successive reviews.

Major changes in the management of weapon systems were recently introduced following criticism by the services of excessive program direction and micromanagement by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). These changes mean that future reviews of program progress for many weapon systems will be conducted by the military services and that OSD staffs will have a more limited role. Many claims of interference in program management stem from efforts of OSD to obtain the needed information for making meaningful reviews and recommendations. Program managers are responsible for expenditures involving billions of dollars, and a review of their actions is essential. Overall needs of DOD require coordination and control. There have been some problems in implementing the DSARC process, some aggrevated by rapid turnover of key personnel. Delegation of reviews to the services could be effective if the OSD maintained its capability of acquiring data, continued its participation in programs, and had final authority for major decisions.

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