GAO: DoD dragging its feet on revising weapon system acquisition programs

Mike Sullivan: Room for improvement with DoD weapon system acquisition programs

The Government Accountability Office has revisited the weapon system acquisition programs at the Defense Department, only to find that many of its recommendations haven’t taken hold yet.

About eight years ago, GAO recommended a departmentwide portfolio management approach for those investments. Under that system, DoD would take periodic reviews to see which programs  are still need which are over-cost.

“It’s a way to look at all the programs in a portfolio so you can get a sense of affordability,” Mike Sullivan, director of acquisition and sourcing management issues at GAO, told In Depth with Francis Rose.

Mike Sullivan
Mike Sullivan

Just recently, however, GAO has said the system could use some improvement. Sullivan said the program isn’t living up to its full potential.

“It was never seriously implemented,” he said. “Other priorities came into play, and they started with the Better Buying Power Initiative shortly after that and agenda kind of changed. So the portfolio management policy they have pretty much set aside.”

GAO now recommends that they revise the portfolio management policy and include some of the best practices elements they found in the report from eight years ago. Those best practices include assessing investments collectively from an enterprisewide perspective and integrating requirements, acquisition and budget information.

“Their response was kind of in agreement with what we were saying,” Sullivan said. “They do think they need to use those best practice elements. But they have kind of abandoned the idea of a portfolio management policy and they think they can do this with their existing structure.”


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