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Report: The U.S. Military Is Spending More and Getting Less Firepower

Michael Peck

Michael Peck

Security,

The U.S. military—correction, the U.S. taxpayer—is spending more money to buy fewer weapons. The reason? Poor acquisition practices, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Report: The U.S. Military Is Spending More and Getting Less Firepower

If the Pentagon had to take Consumer Math class in high school, they’d flunk.

The U.S. military—correction, the U.S. taxpayer—is spending more money to buy fewer weapons. The reason? Poor acquisition practices, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

“DOD’s 2018 portfolio of major weapon programs has grown in cost by $8 billion, but contains four fewer systems than last year,” GAO found.

GAO blames this on several factors. “Portfolio-wide cost growth has occurred in an environment where awards are often made without full and open competition. Specifically, GAO found that DOD did not compete for 67 percent of 183 major contracts currently reported for its 82 major programs. GAO also observed that DOD awarded 47 percent of these 183 contracts to five corporations and entities connected with them.”

United Technologies, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Boeing and Lockheed Martin accounted for almost half of the contractors for these eighty-two programs, including the Army’s Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, the Navy’s Ford-class aircraft carriers, and the Air Force’s Combat Rescue Helicopter.

Another factor is the Pentagon adding new capabilities to existing programs rather than creating new programs, which means existing programs take longer to complete. “On average, programs in the current portfolio are about 4 months older than last year and nearly 3 years older than in 2012,” GAO said.

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