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Half of Pentagon’s acquisition programs marred by poor management

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Over the past two years, Pentagon spending has increased by $135 billion, growing to a total of $1.68 trillion. Almost half of the increase is marred by poor management and execution, an audit shows.

The programs failing to meet performance metrics accounted for 72 percent of the Pentagon’s investment in defense acquisition programs. Required changes, increased need for software development, and a lack of reliability contributed to the cost increases in poorly performing programs, according to the Government Accountability Office’s review.

Some existing weapons, like the Joint Strike Fighter, began under the old system and tend to be the most costly. Cost increases for the Joint Strike Fighter accounted for almost $34 billion.

The GAO found that most new programs are moving forward without doing the government recommended research and modeling, increasing the risk of cost growth and delays.

The Pentagon disagreed with the GAO’s methods for calculating cost growth and asked the GAO not to include the figures in its report.

“Measuring cost increases from the formal start of a program to the present is one of several important metrics because it conveys the magnitude of the task at hand and provides a context for management,” the GAO said.

FAST FACT: About 80 percent of programs cost far more than initial estimates. The cost of each F-22 Raptor airplane, for instance, has almost tripled, from $139 million to $412 million.

Following are other new watchdog reports released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), various federal Offices of Inspector General (OIG), and other government entities.

MISC.

  • Last November, almost 300,000 eggs were recalled for salmonella, but 270,000 of them had already been granted the official USDA trademark deeming them safe for consumption. Right now, egg producers are not required to immediately notify the agency of positive salmonella results. A new FDA regulation will require egg producers to routinely test for salmonella, but still does not require the producers to report it. (USDA Inspector General)
  • If the U.S. Postal Service ended Saturday delivery, it could save an estimated $3.1 billion. The new schedule may change mail volume and reduce the estimated savings. By itself, five-day delivery isn’t sufficient to solve the Postal Service’s mounting deficit. (GAO)