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GAO Releases Annual Assessment of Pentagon’s Acquisition Programs

The Government Accountability Office assessed the Department of Defense’s 121 major defense acquisition programs, information technology procurement and middle-tier acquisition initiatives worth $1.86T combined and found that DoD did not implement certain measures to achieve its goal of accelerating the delivery of capabilities despite adopting a streamlined approach to acquisition.

GAO said in a report published Wednesday that many MDAPs failed to implement key knowledge-based acquisition practices, including the completion of a system-level preliminary design review prior to system development and testing of a system-level integrated prototype by critical design review. Such knowledge-based practices have been found to be correlated to improved schedule and cost performance.

According to the report, 85 MDAPs have reached over $628B in total cost growth and seen a 30 percent rise in schedule growth, leading to an average capability delivery delay of more than 2 years. Inconsistent implementation of cybersecurity and software development practices was also observed among MDAPS.

The congressional watchdog also found challenges when it comes to monitoring schedule and cost performance of MTA programs.

“GAO observed inconsistent cost reporting and wide variation in schedule metrics across MTA programs, which pose oversight challenges for Office of the Secretary of Defense and military department leaders trying to assess performance of these programs,” the office said in the report. “According to DOD officials, the department is in the process of improving MTA program data."

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