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Defense Acquisitions: Status and Challenges of Joint Forces Command's Limited Acquisition Authority

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Over 3 years ago, Congress granted limited acquisition authority LAA to U.S. Joint Forces Command JFCOM for a 3-year period to expedite development and acquisition of certain warfighter equipment. Congress directed GAO to report on JFCOM LAA implementation. GAOs report, issued in November 2005, said JFCOM finished five LAA projects and was working on a sixth project, and that JFCOM had experienced difficulty finding funding to develop, acquire, and sustain LAA projects. Last year, Congress extended LAA through September 2008 and again directed GAO to report on LAA. This report updates the status of JFCOM LAA efforts since the authority was enacted and discusses key LAA challenges. JFCOM has not approved any LAA projects since GAOs November 2005 report, and the LAA project that was incomplete as of then remains so. The projects generally fall under the category of battle management command, control, communications, and intelligence. Research funding provided for the six LAA projects has risen from 9 million in 2005 to 14 million as of January 2007. No procurement funds had been used for these projects as of then. Feedback from the warfighter has been mostly positive about the LAA acquisition process and capabilities delivered. The Department of Defense DOD and JFCOM face several LAA challenges, one of which goes to the role of LAA. Shortly after LAAs enactment, the Deputy Secretary of Defense created the Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell JRAC to provide timely solutions for joint urgent warfighter needs. GAO analysis indicates that JRAC and JFCOM LAA cover similar ground and could overlap even more if JRAC is allowed to address needs other than for ongoing named operations. JRAC might have also been able to carry out most, if not all, of the six LAA projects had it existed when they were approved by JFCOM. GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense reassess the role of JFCOM LAA in light of changes contemplated for the JRAC process.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

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