Defense Acquisitions: Perspectives on Potential Changes to Department of Defense Acquisition Management Framework
Released Feb. 27, 2009
25 pages in PDF format
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2008 directed GAO to report on potential modifications of the organization and structure of the Department of Defense (DOD) for Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAP). This letter report to Congressional committees is the result.
Based on its discussions with acquisition experts and reviews of its own and other key studies on DOD acquisition, GAO reports that six of the seven potential changes included in the fiscal year 2008 NDAA could help improve DOD’s acquisition processes with some modifications, but only if they are accompanied by additional changes in the overall acquisition environment.
GAO’s discussions with acquisition experts indicate that these changes may not achieve the desired improvement in acquisition outcomes unless they are accompanied by changes in the overall acquisition environment, its culture, and the incentives provided for success.
Some of the DOD executives interviewed—both current and former—emphatically stated that these changes will not improve the acquisition system until the department can significantly improve its prioritization of needs so that fewer programs are competing for available dollars.
Furthermore, some of the experts expressed a strong belief that none of the potential changes may be acceptable to some process stakeholders because some stakeholders like the process as it is. Another expert characterized the acquisition process as a system in equilibrium. It will take strong, consistent strategic leadership to change the current culture and environment.