The Defense Department has made progress implementing acquisition reforms in recent years, but leadership needs to pay more attention for meaningful change to take place, according to an audit released this week by the Government Accountability Office.
The audit was completed at the request of the House and Senate Armed Services committees, which sought to determine whether and how the Pentagon was handling numerous acquisition reforms included in the 2017 and 2018 National Defense Authorization Acts.
The answers are a mixed bag, according to GAO auditors.
On one hand, military departments have taken on a larger share of the decision-making authority for major multibillion-dollar, multiyear defense acquisitions since 2016. That year, the Office of the Secretary of Defense oversaw 30 major defense acquisition programs, compared to 58 overseen by military departments. As of March, OSD only oversaw nine major defense acquisition programs, while military departments oversaw 80.
OSD oversees only those programs that are high-risk, joint or had significant cost or schedule growth, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program or the Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense program.