- Advocacy & Policy
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April 02, 2008GAO's sixth annual assessment of selected weapons programs identifies a negative trend in the cost, schedule and technical performance of major Defense Department programs. According to the report, unstable program requirements, frequent program manager turnover, reliance on contractors to perform acquisition functions and difficulty managing software development are contributing to this trend. Sixty-three percent of the programs GAO reviewed had requirement changes after system development began. These programs had cost increases of 72 percent versus 11 percent on programs where requirements did not change. Cost growth on large, high risk development programs occurs because competition drives cost optimism at the outset. Moreover, not all technical complexities are predictable and requirements changes during long developments encourage cost growth. Notwithstanding, U.S. weapon systems are the best in the world. The Defense Department is pursuing a number of initiatives to control cost growth. For example, DoD is initiating a new process to match concepts to requirements and is establishing a senior review board to minimize requirements creep. Industry supports these and other efforts to enhance the acquisition process. We are united in our commitment to assure our military forces have the best equipment available on time and within budget.