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GAO: Knowledge-Based Practices, Competition Could Help MDA Address GMD Acquisition Challenges

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The Government Accountability Office has listed several practices the Missile Defense Agency could implement to address acquisition challenges with regard to the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system.

Those practices include using knowledge-based acquisition practices; involving stakeholders early and often; promoting oversight and competition; and conducting robust testing, GAO said in a report published Wednesday.

The Department of Defense has initiated steps to address some of the 17 open recommendations by GAO to help reduce risks and improve acquisition outcomes. An example of that is MDA’s collaboration with stakeholders on the acquisition strategy and requirements for the Next-Generation Interceptor program, resulting in the approval of the acquisition strategy for NGI in April .

MDA considers assuming responsibilities for GMD system development and integration and GAO found that the move could provide the agency greater direct control over the program’s performance, schedule and cost.

“However, the approach has some challenges that, if not addressed, could outweigh the benefits. For example, MDA may encounter challenges obtaining the technical data and staffing levels necessary to manage this complex weapon system, which could ultimately affect its availability or readiness,” the GAO report states.

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