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DoD Takes on Developing Weapons Requirements, Ending Creep

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DoD Deputy acquisition chief Frank Kendall, Photo: defense.gov

In the efforts to rein in the Defense Department’s acquisition process, the practice of developing requirements for combat systems is getting a looking at, according to a Federal Times report.

“Requirements development . . . has been identified as a weakness in the department and has led to cost and schedule overruns on many programs,” said deputy DoD acquisition chief Frank Kendall in a memo last month. “Requirements development is paramount to successful acquisition outcomes.”

The solution to the cost-overruns and other problems that often result from inadequately developing requirements is better training, Kendall said.

But, in the meantime, he urged Pentagon acquisition officials to take advantage of the training already provided.

Kendall’s memo seems designed to head off a longstanding problem that has often plagued DoD’s weapons-buying process: so-called requirements creep, which, Federal Times reports, happens when government officials change their minds about what they want a weapons system to do.

Pentagon officials told Federal Times that as many as five DoD working groups are looking at ways to reform acquisitions, including a fix for creep.

And, it appears DoD’s efforts may be paying off. The Government Accountability Office said the Pentagon has “”made major revisions” to its  acquisition processes since the middle of 2009.

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