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GAO: DOD Should Document Leadership Roles, Responsibilities for Hypersonic Weapons Development

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recommended that the Department of Defense (DOD) define the roles, authorities and responsibilities of DOD organizations and leadership positions responsible for hypersonic weapons development and acquisition efforts to ensure coordination.

GAO made the recommendation after it found that DOD has not documented the authorities, roles and responsibilities of its organizations overseeing development work on hypersonic weapons, according to a report published Monday.

“Such governing documentation would provide for a level of continuity when leadership and organizational priorities inevitably change, especially as hypersonic weapon development efforts are expected to continue over at least the next decade,” the report reads.

“Without clear leadership roles, responsibilities, and authorities, DOD is at risk of impeding its progress toward delivering hypersonic weapon capabilities and opening up the potential for conflict and wasted resources as decisions over larger investments are made in the future,” GAO noted.

The congressional watchdog identified 70 hypersonic weapons development projects spread across the Pentagon as well as the Department of Energy (DOE) and NASA in support of DOD. These initiatives have total reported funding of approximately $15 billion from fiscal year 2015 through FY 2024.

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