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Highlights

This report is GAO's sixth annual assessment of selected weapon programs. Since 2000, the Department of Defense (DOD) has roughly doubled its planned investment in new systems from $790 billion to $1.6 trillion in 2007, but acquisition outcomes in terms of cost and schedule have not improved. Total acquisition costs for major defense programs in the fiscal year 2007 portfolio have increased 26 percent from first estimates, compared with 6 percent in 2000. Programs have also often failed to deliver capabilities when promised. DOD's acquisition outcomes appear increasingly suboptimal, a condition that needs to be corrected given the pressures faced by the department from other military and major nondiscretionary government demands. This report provides congressional and DOD decision makers with an independent, knowledge-based assessment of defense programs, identifying potential risks when a program's projected attainment of knowledge diverges from best practices. The programs assessed--most of which are considered major acquisitions by DOD--were selected using several factors: high dollar value, acquisition stage, and congressional interest. This report also highlights overall trends in DOD acquisition outcomes and issues raised by the cumulative experience of individual programs. GAO updates this report annually under the Comptroller General's authority to conduct evaluations on his own initiative.

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