John McCain wants to Fine Military Branches that Allow Contractors to go Over-Budget
Responsibility for cost overruns inside the Pentagon has been hard to come by, but one senator wants to change that.
Republican John McCain of Arizona, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is pushing for a major alteration to the Department of Defense’s process for buying weapons. He wants a single individual, such as a service chief, to take responsibility for each new weapon or service contract that is purchased for the military.
More importantly, McCain wants the military branch that is represented by each of those designated individuals to pay a fine if the new weapon goes over budget.
“What the Pentagon has turned into is the absolute quintessence of ‘Everybody's responsible, so therefore nobody is responsible,’” McCain told National Journal.
Currently, the military’s top brass lacks authority over how a new weapon is researched, developed, or contracted. They only get to decide how it’s going to be used.
“This inevitably leads to cost overruns because the proposed products get weighed down with unnecessary requirements dictated by people who, by design, see only one part of a bigger picture,” Fawn Johnson wrote at National Journal.
McCain had had enough of this process last year when he found out the Navy’s new aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford, went $2.4 billion over budget—and he couldn’t get an answer out of the chief of naval operations as to who was responsible for the problem.
“Here's the chief of the service that can't tell you who's responsible for a $2.4 billion cost overrun. Do you know what Arizona can do with $2.4 billion? That would take care of every problem they ever had for the next 10 years,” McCain said.
To Learn More:
Pentagon Procurement Could See Dramatic Changes (by Fawn Johnson, National Journal)
Senator McCain Renews Focus on Ending Cost-Plus Contracts (by Scott L. Glabe, Jennifer L. Plitsch and Kathy Brown, National Law Review)
Majority of Pentagon Weapons Contracts Go Over Cost Estimates (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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