Defense Acquisitions: Strong Leadership Is Key to Planning and Executing Stable Weapon Programs

GAO-10-522 Published: May 06, 2010. Publicly Released: May 06, 2010.
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For several decades, Congress and the Department of Defense (DOD) have explored ways to improve the acquisition of major weapon systems, yet program outcomes and their underlying causes have proven resistant to change. Last year, we reported that the cumulative cost growth in DOD's portfolio of major programs was $296 billion. The opportunity to achieve meaningful improvements may now be at hand with the recent introduction of major reforms to the acquisition process. In response to a mandate from this Committee, GAO has issued several reports about DOD's budget and requirements processes to support weapon program stability. This follow-on report focuses on (1) identifying weapon programs that are achieving good outcomes, (2) the factors that enable some programs to succeed, and (3) lessons to be learned from these programs to guide implementation of recent reforms. GAO analyzed DOD's portfolio of major defense programs and conducted case study reviews of five programs.

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