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Defense Acquisitions: Better Approach Needed to Account for Number, Cost, and Performance of Non-Major Programs

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Congressional rept.

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Why GAO Did This Study. DOD requested 168 billion in fiscal year 2014 to develop, test, and acquire weapon systems and other products and equipment. About 40 percent of that total is for major defense acquisition programs or ACAT I programs. DOD also invests in other, non-major ACAT II and III programs that are generally less costly at the individual program level. These programs typically have fewer reporting requirements and are overseen at lower organizational levels than ACAT I programs, although they may have annual funding needs that are just as significant. GAO was asked to examine ACAT II and III programs. This report addresses, among other issues, 1 the extent to which information is available on the number, cost, and performance of ACAT II and III programs and 2 factors that affected the performance of selected ACAT II and III programs. GAO collected program and cost data on current ACAT II and III programs from five DOD components. GAO also selected a non-generalizable sample of 15 programs based on program cost and other criteria and reviewed documentation and interviewed officials about program performance. What GAO Recommends. GAO recommends that DOD establish guidelines on what constitutes a current ACAT II and III program, take steps to improve data reliability, and determine how to measure cost and schedule performance. DOD partially concurred with the recommendations and described actions it plans to take. However, as discussed in the report, DOD s planned actions may not fully address the issues that GAO identified.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Defense Systems

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