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Defense Acquisition Issues

It's a mess:

Right now, the current trends are not good. The US Navy is smaller than it has been in decades, currently has no viable shipbuilding programs for surface combatants, and has credibility issues in Washington. The US Army has a clear modernization strategy, but faces a maintenance overhang, challenges with both program management of its $160 billion Future Combat Systems meta-program and the very premises behind it, and other issues. The USAF has become concerned about its institutional future, even as its aircraft continue to see their average ages rise and respected outside organizations slam its procurement plans as fantasy. A recent Pentagon Defense Business Board report that examined programs from 2000 - 2007 throws the problem into stark relief: cost increases on 5 major weapons programs accounted for $206 billion, or 22%, of the total jump in spending for new arms so far this decade. The Defense Procurement Death Spiral is biting, hard, across the board.

NASA has similar problems. Norm Augustine
saw a lot of these problems coming a couple decades ago. I wish that I could believe that an Obama administration will take defense seriously enough to do something about it.



Josh Reiter wrote:

Yet, it illustrates why the Gov't is the last org you want to hand your money over too. The fact that they burned through 206 billion with little to show for is mind boggling.

Yet is never stops people from surmising, "Well, they just need more money and more time to figure it out." What? Like it is somehow okay that all the prior deadlines slipped? Yet this latest one they really, really care about and will crash and fast track everything they can to meet. Yea, sure.... Most of the time your doing okay if you let either money, time, or quality slide in order to meet project deadline -- just one of the three. Yet, the govt' somehow manages to slide all three and it continues to be okay. No, wonder everyone wants to work for the gov't, you get pat on the back for doing a lousy job.

I've done a lot of jobs that aren't that thrilling. I see co-workers come in hanging their head and not that enthused. In fact, I have seen many times where someone will actually exert more effort to avoid doing any meaningful work then if they just sat down and did it. I'd imagine someone would have to actually work to find ways to get all three edges of the productions triangle to slide.

ken anthony wrote:

It's just another sign that accountability is all but gone. Do we really expect Obama to fix this? I expect our defense to weaken to the point it emboldens our enemies. The only good news is that oil is now below maintenance levels for Russia's new aggressive policies.

At the same time Obama plans to have a new internal security force?

It makes you stop wondering how the good people of 1930s Germany could allow a tiny group of fascist to create the third reich.

Leland wrote:

It makes you stop wondering how the good people of 1930s Germany could allow a tiny group of fascist to create the third reich.

No kidding. The Civil Defense Force is something that should have scared the daylights out of any real liberal.

tom wrote:

OUCH. All too true. Like Mr. X, I've become extremely jaded over my time in the military, especially the acquisitions.

The economic bubble has burst but the acquisition idiocy bubble continues to grow. Nothing to show for your latest acquisition, Navy, Air Force? Not to worry! simply bump up your budget request, push out delivery date by 18 months, cut or eliminate replacement of current-generation assets to provide a funding wedge, increase the bar for your already unobtainable final requirements, and VOILA! Good as new. Your acquisition is now on-target!

I actually have been saying the same thing for quite a few years now that they do--the problem is not acquisition oversight or lack of rules. (if anything the current rules make everything worse) The major problem is lack of accountability, and in some cases, lack of courage by those who know better.

Grow up, stars. Forget CGX. Buy more Burkes first. Forget CVX. Buy a couple more Nimitzs. Forget DDG-1000 for god's sake. Forget TSAT. Let's get the AEHF and WGS up there.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on November 7, 2008 5:39 AM.

No More JesusLand was the previous entry in this blog.

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