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GAO: DoD Tech Acquisition Costs Increased Despite Major Reforms

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The Government Accountability Office found that the Pentagon continues increasing its spending on new weapons capabilities despite recent major acquisition reforms aiming to limit cost growth in the agency’s modernization efforts. GAO issued Tuesday its annual assessment of the Department of Defense’s tech spending in the past two years. 

GAO said that despite adopting new acquisition processes in 2010, the Pentagon’s 2018 portfolio of weapon programs increased from $8 billion to $1.69 trillion to support 82 new major acquisition programs. The watchdog associated the cost growth to DoD’s continued focus on adding new capabilities to existing systems instead of launching new programs to modernize the military. The lack of full and open competition for contracts also contributed to the increase. 

“DoD did not compete 67 percent of 183 major contracts currently reported for its 82 major programs,” GAO said. The agency awarded most of the contracts to only five corporations and their partner companies. DoD also failed implement knowledge-based acquisition practices prior to development of technologies, which could have helped lower cost and accelerate acquisition.