Pentagon acquisition reforms imposed by the Obama administration and Congress helped rein in the costs of major weapons, although the savings are leveling off, congressional auditors have found.
“Our assessment shows that the progress DoD has made since 2010” to reduce cost growth in its portfolio “has now flattened out,” Comptroller General Gene Dodaro said in the Government Accountability Office’s 15th annual report on major weapons systems. The combined estimated cost of the 78 programs in the latest study is $1.46 trillion, or $9.4 billion more than their original estimates.
“More encouraging, we found that programs that started development” after legislation was enacted in 2009 and the Pentagon’s “Better Buying Power Initiatives” started in 2010 “saw cost decreases over the past two years, indicating that recent reforms may be having a positive impact,” Dodaro said in the report.
The GAO report may help the Defense Department and the Trump administration defend against the perception of runaway spending on new weapons, even as they try to sell the public on plans to increase military funding by $54 billion in fiscal 2018. That would be 10 percent over the current budget cap limits, or about 3 percent more than what former President Barack Obama’s budget had projected for next year.
Still, the annual report singled out “significant cost increases in a few large shipbuilding programs” as a major contributor to cost increases; Trump wants to increase the Navy fleet to 355 ships from about 275 today. (end of excerpt)
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