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Highlights

This is GAO's seventh annual assessment of selected Department of Defense (DOD) weapon programs. The report examines how well DOD is planning and executing its weapon acquisition programs, an area that has been on GAO's high-risk list since 1990. This year's report is in response to the mandate in the joint explanatory statement to the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009. The report includes (1) an analysis of the overall performance of DOD's 2008 portfolio of 96 major defense acquisition programs and a comparison to the portfolio performance at two other points in time--5 years ago and 1 year ago; (2) an analysis of current cost and schedule outcomes and knowledge attained by key junctures in the acquisition process for a subset of 47 weapon programs--primarily in development--from the 2008 portfolio; (3) data on other factors that could impact program stability; and (4) an update on changes in DOD's acquisition policies. To conduct our assessment, GAO analyzed cost, schedule, and quantity data from DOD's Selected Acquisition Reports for the programs in DOD's 2003, 2007, and 2008 portfolios. GAO also collected data from program offices on technology, design, and manufacturing knowledge, as well as on other factors that might affect program stability. GAO analyzed this data and compiled one- or two-page assessments of 67 weapon programs.

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