Key Issues > DOD Weapon Systems Acquisition - High Risk Issue
defense icon, source: [West Covina, California] Progressive Management, 2008

DOD Weapon Systems Acquisition - High Risk Issue

Congress and the Department of Defense (DOD) have long sought to improve the acquisition of major weapon systems, yet many DOD programs are still falling short of cost, schedule, and performance expectations.

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This key issue page is related to an area on GAO’s 2017 High Risk Update and will be updated shortly. In the meantime, visit the related High Risk area for the newest information.

As stated in GAO's 2015 High Risk report, Congress and the Department of Defense (DOD) have long sought to improve the acquisition of major weapon systems, yet many DOD programs are still falling short of cost, schedule, and performance expectations. The results are unanticipated cost overruns, reduced buying power, and in some cases a reduction in the capability ultimately delivered to the warfighter. According to our March 2014 report, to complete the development and procurement of its portfolio of 80 major defense acquisition programs, DOD expected to invest $1.5 trillion (fiscal year 2014 dollars). With the prospect of slowly growing or flat defense budgets for years to come, DOD must get better returns on its weapon system investments and find ways to deliver capability to the warfighter for less than it has in the past.  GAO added this area to its high risk list in 1990.

This High Risk Report is updated every two years, at the start of each new Congress. For more information on this High Risk Issue, see What We Found and What Remains to Be Done.

Looking for our recommendations? Click on any report to find each associated recommendation and its current implementation status.
Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-340SP

GAO-14-340SP: Published: Mar 31, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 31, 2014.
Defense Acquisitions: Where Should Reform Aim Next?
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-145T

GAO-14-145T: Published: Oct 29, 2013. Publicly Released: Oct 29, 2013.

Podcasts

2015 Update to GAO's High Risk ListWednesday, February 11, 2015
  • portrait of Michael J. Sullivan
    • Michael J. Sullivan
    • Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management
    • sullivanm@gao.gov
    • (202) 512-4841