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DOD has faced challenges acquiring new weapon systems—such as aircraft, ships, and satellites—on time and on budget.
In 2018, DOD revised its process for reviewing and approving "capability documents," which identify new or enhanced capabilities in weapon systems.
In 2019, Congress directed DOD to develop a strategy to better engage with small businesses and coordinate small business programs across the department.
We analyzed trends in DOD contracting. From FY 2011 to 2020, DOD spending on contracts with small businesses increased.
DOD relies on contractors worldwide to support contingency operations, which can include armed conflicts, humanitarian crises, and more.
The Commission on Wartime Contracting made 30 recommendations in 2011 to improve contingency contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Over the past few years, the Department of Defense has been updating how it develops and acquires software for its weapon and business IT systems. It established a software acquisition pathway emphasizing rapid delivery and user engagement, for example, through Agile software development.
The Department of Defense, which spent about $422 billion on contracts for goods and services in FY 2020, has been the target of contracting-related fraud schemes. For example, one contractor pleaded guilty to defrauding the department by overbilling.
More severe and frequent extreme weather events threaten U.S. infrastructure. In 2020, 22 natural disasters caused over $100 billion in damages. Reducing the vulnerability of buildings, roads, and other federal assets can reduce costs to the government.
The Department of Defense started 11 of the last 12 fiscal years under a continuing resolution, which provides temporary funding for federal agencies when Congress hasn't enacted regular appropriations by the start of the fiscal year.
Employees who leave DOD to work for DOD contractors may face restrictions designed to protect against conflicts of interest. For example, they are permanently prohibited from attempting to influence their former agency about a project they worked on.
The U.S. military depends on systems of ultra high frequency ("narrowband") satellites for secure communications. The newest system provides cell-phone-like voice and data service to military users and could provide a 10-fold increase in communications capacity.