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GAO Assesses Pentagon’s Weapons System Acquisition Programs

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The Government Accountability Office has found that the Department of Defense has made efforts to accelerate the development and deployment of weapons systems, but most of DOD’s major defense acquisition programs continue to face schedule delays.

GAO reviewed 29 MDAPs and found that 17 of these programs reported delays in deploying capabilities in the past year, according to a report published Wednesday.

DOD is also ramping up its use of the middle tier of acquisition pathway in programs, but the congressional watchdog found that programs using the MTA pathway do not intend to secure ample product knowledge before kicking off follow-on efforts.

“This approach increases the risk that these follow-on efforts may encounter cost, schedule, or technical challenges during development or production,” the GAO report reads.

GAO recommended that the Pentagon update its instruction for industrial base assessments “to define the circumstances that would constitute a known or projected problem or substantial risk that a necessary industrial capability may be lost.”

The agency made the recommendation after it found that the department’s instructions do not clearly define certain phrases related to conditions under which programs should carry out industrial base assessments, which seek to help DOD ensure that certain industry capabilities are available and satisfy future and existing national security needs.

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