Friday, December 1, 2023

Weapon Delays Hurt Military’s Ability to Meet Threats, Report Finds

'Given their planned fielding time frames, the weapon systems in this report form an essential part of this deterrence... '

(By Brett Rowland, The Center Square) Despite recent reforms, the U.S. Department of Defense has had challenges bringing new weapons to the battlefield, according to a new report.

More than half of the 26 major defense acquisition programs reported new delays. At the same time, net costs increased by $37 billion, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

“The Department of Defense continues to face challenges quickly developing innovative new weapons,” according to the report. “These challenges persist even with recent reforms to its acquisition process intended to help deliver systems to the warfighter in a timelier manner.”

The delays affect some the military’s most expensive weapon systems and every branch of the military, including Space Force.

In 2020, the Department of Defense revamped its acquisition policies. The policy changes responded to statutory provisions “and longstanding concerns from some members of Congress that the defense acquisition process was overly bureaucratic and too slow,” according to the report.

“Driving factors included supplier disruptions, software development delays and quality control deficiencies,” the report found. “Additionally, these programs continue to make investment decisions without sufficient knowledge, which can increase the risk of delays.”

Comptroller General of the United States Gene Dodaro said more needs to be done.

“We continue to see far more programs, however, experiencing delays in delivering capabilities,” he wrote. “More than half of the major defense acquisition programs that we reviewed that have yet to deliver capabilities reported schedule slips over the past year.”

He said changes could help speed up the process at a critical time for the U.S.

“The 2022 National Security Strategy describes the U.S. as being in the early years of a decisive decade, in which the U.S. must ensure it is well prepared to deter or counter adversaries,” he wrote. “Given their planned fielding time frames, the weapon systems in this report form an essential part of this deterrence.”


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