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Defense Acquisition: DOD Should Clarify Requirements for Assessing and Documenting Technical-Data Needs

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Some of the Department of Defense's (DOD) weapon systems remain in the inventory for decades. Therefore, decisions that program officials make during the acquisition process to acquire or not acquire rights to technical data, which may cost $1 billion, can have far-reaching implications for DOD's ability to sustain and competitively procure parts and services for those systems. DOD needs access to technical data to control costs, maintain flexibility in acquisition and sustainment, and maintain and operate systems. In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the extent to which: (1) DOD has updated its acquisition and procurement policies to reflect a 2007 law and 2006 GAO recommendations; (2) selected acquisition programs adhered to requirements to document technical-data needs; and (3) DOD took actions to improve technical-data decisions by program managers. GAO interviewed DOD officials, reviewed acquisition strategies and acquisition plans from 12 programs, and compared those documents to relevant DOD policies."
Date: May 11, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Acquisition: DOD Faces Challenges in Implementing Best Practices

Description: A statement of record issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "GAO studied several leading companies in the private sector that have made dramatic changes to their process for acquiring services. GAO found that these changes generally began with a corporate decision to pursue a more strategic approach to acquiring services--from developing a better picture of what the company was actually spending on services to developing new ways of doing business. The Defense Department (DOD), the government's largest purchaser of services, already has some elements in place that are essential to such a strategic approach, such as a commitment by top management to adopting best practices. However, DOD has yet to conduct a comprehensive analysis of its spending on services or thoroughly assess it's current structure, processes, and roles. DOD's size, the range and complexity of the services that it acquires, the capacity of its information and financial systems, and the unique requirements of the federal government are among the factors that DOD will need to consider as it tailors a strategic approach to its diverse needs."
Date: February 27, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Acquisition: Best Commercial Practices Can Improve Program Outcomes

Description: A statement of record issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the best practices that can improve the way the Department of Defense (DOD) buys major weapon systems."
Date: March 17, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Acquisition: Comanche Program Objectives Need to Be Revised to More Achievable Levels

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "As of August 1, 1999, the Army's Comanche helicopter program faced significant risks related to cost overruns, scheduling delays, and degraded performance. GAO concluded that proceeding to the next development phase with high levels of uncertainty was not in accordance with best practices followed by successful commercial firms. This report evaluates changes since 1999 in the Comanche's cost, schedule, and performance, and assesses whether the Army will have the knowledge it needs to proceed with its current production plans. GAO found that the Comanche program's total development and production cost estimate has increased by almost $4.8 billion. However, areas of high technical risks and unfunded requirements could further increase the program's costs. The program office does not plan to update its April 2000 current estimate to reflect these increases until January 2003. The Comanche's December 2006 full rate production decision date has not changed even though the risks of not meeting this date have increased. The Army continues to face the risk that critical performance requirements may not be met--at least for the helicopters it will initially produce. The Department of Defense (DOD) recently provided $84 million in additional development funding to help reduce some of these high-risk areas. Additionally, the Army is not likely to have the knowledge it needs to begin production when scheduled. It is also not likely to know whether some technologies being developed, such as those used for the mission equipment package, will work on the helicopter and function as expected. DOD is also unlikely to know whether the helicopter can be produced within current cost estimates."
Date: June 7, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Acquisition: Advanced SEAL Delivery System Program Needs Increased Oversight

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS) is a mini-submarine that is one of the U.S. Special Operations Command's largest investments. The program is approaching the end of a difficult development and must undergo key testing before decisions are made to proceed beyond the first boat. Over the past several years, the Congress has raised concerns about technical difficulties, schedule delays, cost growth, and management oversight. The Senate Armed Services Committee requested that GAO review the status and problems facing the program. Specifically, this report examines the ASDS program's (1) progress towards meeting requirements and technical challenges, (2) ability to meet schedule and cost projections, and (3) underlying factors contributing to program problems."
Date: March 31, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Acquisition: Army Transformation Faces Weapon Systems Challenges

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Changes in the character and the conduct of warfighting and in the range and the nature of missions call for an Army force that is more responsive and dominant across the full spectrum of operations and requires much less in-theater logistics support. To meet these new demands, the Army is using the latest technology to develop a series of weapon systems that will be lighter than today's heavy force systems but just as lethal and survivable. The Army's transformation effort will face several challenges. First, the transformation will place additional funding demands on the defense budget. Second, the Army's plans for the transformation assume that weapons systems and equipment can be developed and acquired much faster than in the past. Third, the Army needs to update current acquisition plans to reflect transformation priorities and schedules. The success of this effort depends on the Army's ability to manage transformation acquisitions as leading commercial firms do. By following best practices used in the commercial sector, the Army can better match its needs with its resources."
Date: May 21, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Acquisition: Progress of the F-22 and F/A-18E/F Engineering and Manufacturing Development Programs

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Air Force's F-22 and the Navy's F/A-18E/F engineering and manufacturing (EMD) programs."
Date: March 17, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Acquisition: Historical Insights Into Navy Ship Leasing

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Navy's decisions in the early 1970s and early 1980s to lease Sealift Tankers, Maritime Prepositioning Ships, and T-5 replacement tankers, and more recently, Chouest specialized support vessels, focusing on the: (1) basis and support for the Navy's decisions to lease rather than purchase these vessels; (2) concerns that surrounded the decisions; and (3) legislative and regulatory changes that have been implemented that will influence future lease versus purchase decisions."
Date: April 21, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Acquisition Workforce: Improved Processes, Guidance, and Planning Needed to Enhance Use of Workforce Funds

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "DOD has identified DAWDF as a key tool used to address gaps in the acquisition workforce through additional hiring and training initiatives. For example, DOD officials noted they used DAWDF funds to hire about 5,855 new acquisition staff through fiscal year 2011 and enabled the Defense Acquisition University to provide 19,000 additional classroom seats, among other improvements. However, DODÂ’s ability to effectively execute hiring and other initiatives has been hindered by delays in the DAWDF funding process and the absence of clear guidance on the availability and use of related funds. DOD has not collected and distributed funds within required timeframes, sometimes delaying distribution to components until the following fiscal year. For example, only about 39 percent of the total amount of fiscal year 2011 transfer funds were distributed before the end of the fiscal year. These delays can result in uncertainty about the availability of funds, and negatively impact the componentsÂ’ ability to execute according to their approved plans for the year. Additionally, DOD officials noted that the delays contributed, at least in part, to the amount of unobligated funds that were carried over to future years. DOD acknowledges that improved guidance that clarifies when DAWDF funds will be available and how they can be used would help improve the execution of program initiatives."
Date: June 20, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Acquisition Workforce: Better Identification, Development, and Oversight Needed for Personnel Involved in Acquiring Services

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In fiscal year 2010, more than half of the $367 billion dollars the Department of Defense (DOD) spent on contracts was spent on services. Buying services is fundamentally different than buying weapon systems, yet most acquisition regulations, policies, processes, and training remain structured for acquiring weapon systems. Over the last decade, reports from GAO, DOD, and Congress have raised issues about services acquisitions and have also highlighted the importance of acquisition training. GAO previously reported on the training provided to the acquisition workforce as defined by the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA). This report addresses personnel working on services acquisitions who were outside the DAWIA acquisition workforce--termed non-DAWIA personnel with acquisition-related responsibilities--and the extent to which (1) DOD knows the composition of this population, (2) this population is taking acquisition training, and (3) DOD has implemented past recommendations related to this population. To complete this work, GAO reviewed a nongeneralizable sample of 29 service contracts, relevant policies, and recommendations from previous reports and met with key DOD officials."
Date: September 28, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Acquisition Workforce: DOD's Training Program Demonstrates Many Attributes of Effectiveness, but Improvement Is Needed

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The President has announced his intention to improve the acquisition process, particularly given the half a trillion dollars the federal government spent in fiscal year 2009 on acquiring goods and services. The Department of Defense (DOD) spent $384 billion in fiscal year 2009 on goods and services--double what it spent in 2001. A high-quality workforce with the right competencies and skill sets will be critical to improving DOD acquisitions. GAO was mandated to determine the efficacy of DOD's certification training for its acquisition workforce. GAO assessed (1) DOD's capability to provide certification training, (2) the extent that such training reaches members of the workforce, and (3) the extent that previous training recommendations have been implemented. To conduct this work, GAO compared DOD's certification training to GAO guidance for effective training programs and analyzed policies, data, and previous reports on acquisition training."
Date: October 28, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Acquisition Workforce: The Air Force Needs to Evaluate Changes in Funding for Civilians Engaged in Space Acquisition

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Air Force did not evaluate its pilot program that moved funding for Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) acquisition civilian personnel from its 1-year Operation and Maintenance (O&M) appropriation to its 2-year Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) appropriation. In addition, the Air Force is considering using this pilot program to inform funding changes for other sections of its civilian workforce. GAO's prior work has identified the following practices for implementing and evaluating pilot programs: (1) develop objectives that link to the goals of the pilot; (2) develop processes for monitoring the pilot; (3) develop and implement a data collection and analysis plan for evaluating the pilot; and (4) communicate evaluation results to stakeholders. When implementing the pilot program, the Air Force did not follow these practices, and primarily focused on ensuring that administrative changes were made accurately such as ensuring employees received pay on time. For example, while a variety of potential goals were identified for the pilot program by the Air Force in various documents; they were not clear or consistent. As a result, anecdotal opinions on the advantages or disadvantages of the pilot varied significantly. Air Force acquisition officials stated that the pilot program could protect the funding from general reductions, while conversely, Air Force financial management officials said that the pilot would not necessarily mean that space acquisition personnel would be excluded from general reductions to civilian personnel funding. Further, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) officials stated that they are relying on the Air Force to report to them on the pilot's outcomes, but the Air Force has not completed a data collection plan to evaluate the pilot program and has not developed processes for monitoring the pilot ...
Date: July 8, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department