Defense Acquisition: Overview, Issues, and Options for Congress
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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Department of Defense DOD activities to provide military capabilities for the defense of the nation are usually controversial and always complex. Those activities are generally referred to as defense acquisition. The structure DOD utilizes to plan, execute and oversee those activities is a highly intricate and multi-variate system of systems composed of the requirements, resource allocation and acquisition systems. This system of systems has evolved over time, its foundation being the report published by the Packard Commission in 1986, with many of those recommendations becoming part of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. This evolution continued after the Goldwater-Nichols Act as the requirements system changed from a threat-based to a capabilities-based system the resource allocation system added execution reviews and concurrent program and budget reviews and the acquisition system changed from a structured, rigid process to a flexible, tailored process. The complexity of this system of systems combined with the magnitude of personnel, activities and funding involved in its operation can result in problems, including inefficient operations, fraudwasteabuse, and inadequate implementation or enforcement of the myriad laws and regulations that govern it. The Congress has tried to help mitigate these types of problems and accompanying issues over the years. Today, there are a number of challenging issues that Congress could consider to further improve the defense acquisition structure. Some of those issues include defense acquisition transformation, costscheduleperformance problems in Major Defense Acquisition Programs MDAPs, unacceptable outcomes of cost-reimbursement contracts, poor interagency and services contracting practices, and an insufficient defense acquisition workforce.
- Economics and Cost Analysis
- Government and Political Science
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics