Testifying before a Senate subcommittee Frank Kendall, the Defense Departmentâs No. 2 acquisition official, said weapons systems and programs that go beyond their original projected budgets are an âintractableâ problem for the department, according to an Armed Forces Press Service report.
However, the only way to combat such programs and their bloated budgets is to get at the root of the issue, Kendall added.
Part of the issue may be that Pentagon procurement officials are too âoptimisticâ in their requirements, often setting out to build and field a system that is bigger and better than anything built before, he said.
And, contrary to popular belief, they are not as risk-averse as they should be.
âThe acquisition system is frequently criticized for taking too long and being too risk-averse,â he said. âOne has to ask, if we are so risk-averse, why do we have so many overruns and schedule slips?â
The over-exuberance is also shared by the departmentâs private-sector counterparts, he said.
âA defense contractor cannot stay in business by bidding realistically or conservatively and never winning a contract,â Kendall explained.
Fitting for such an official whose battle is against unwarranted optimism, Kendall appeared to be clear-eyed about the solutions.
âIt is not a short-term battle, [and] a simple policy change will not solve all our problems,â he said. âIt takes professionalism, tenacity and singleness of purpose at all levels of the acquisition enterprise to make progress.â