Since 1990, GAO has designated the Department of Defense's (DOD) management of major weapon system acquisitions a high risk area. DOD has taken some action to improve acquisition outcomes, but its weapon programs continue to take longer, cost more, and deliver fewer capabilities than originally planned. These persistent problems--coupled with current operational demands--have impelled DOD to work outside of its traditional acquisition process to acquire equipment that meet urgent warfighter needs. Poor outcomes in DOD's weapon system programs reverberate across the entire federal government. Over the next 5 years, DOD plans to invest about $900 billion to develop and procure weapon systems--the highest level of investment in two decades. Every dollar wasted on acquiring weapon systems is less money available for other priorities. This testimony describes DOD's current weapon system investment portfolio, the problems that contribute to cost and schedule increases, and the potential impacts of recent legislative initiatives and DOD actions aimed at improving outcomes. It also provides some observations about what is needed for DOD to achieve lasting reform. The testimony is drawn from GAO's body of work on DOD's acquisition, requirements, and funding processes, as well as its most recent annual assessment of selected DOD weapon programs.
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