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Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Major Weapon Programs

GAO-04-248 Published: Mar 31, 2004. Publicly Released: Mar 31, 2004.
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Although the weapons that the Department of Defense (DOD) develops have no rival in superiority, there still remain ways in which they can be improved. GAO's reviews over the past 20 years have found consistent problems with weapon acquisitions--cost increases, schedule delays, and performance shortfalls--along with underlying causes, such as pressure on managers to promise more than they can deliver. DOD can resolve these problems by using a knowledge-based approach derived from the best practices of successful product developments. GAO's goal for this report is to provide congressional and DOD decision makers with an independent, knowledge-based assessment of selected defense programs that identifies potential risks and offers an opportunity for action when a program's projected attainment of knowledge diverges from the best practice. It can also highlight those programs that employ practices worthy of emulation by other programs. GAO plans to update and issue this report annually.

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Best practicesBest practices methodologyDefense procurementProgram evaluationProgram managementWeaponsWeapons systemscommon missile warning systemAircraft acquisition programProcurement