GAO: DoD Needs Stronger Hold on Acquisition Oversight

The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report yesterday on the examination of the Defense Department’s organization of acquisition programs following the passing of the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, which was created to help weapon programs establish a solid foundation from the start of development.

According to the report, GAO concluded that DoD needs a stronger performance criteria scale to determine the impact of the Reform Act and address workforce issues.

“The military services face a number of challenges as they try to strengthen systems engineering and developmental testing activities on acquisition programs,” the report stated. “Although the services believe they have enough staff to perform both of these activities, they have not been able to clearly identify the number of staff that are actually involved.”

The report explained that DoD has implemented the Reform Act requirements related to systems engineering and developmental testing, but will require efforts by the directors’ offices, such as approving systems engineering and developmental testing plans and reviewing these efforts on specific weapon programs.

DoD is attempting to implement a Director of Developmental Test and Evaluation to serve concurrently as the Director of the Test Resource Management Center.

However, GAO reported that the department remains unclear on many of the offices’ elements, including what agency the offices should be aligned with.

According to the report, GAO recommends that DoD develop performance criteria to assess program risk; track the extent to which directors' recommendations are implemented; address identified workforce and training needs; and report to Congress on the status of these efforts. DoD concurred with the recommendations.

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