Majority of Pentagon Weapons Contracts Go Over Cost Estimates

Thursday, July 28, 2011
Joint Strike Fighter
When the Department of Defense decides to buy a new weapons system, there’s at least a 50% chance the price tag will be higher than promised, based on a new government watchdog report.
A review of nearly 100 weapons programs by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed half of them have exceeded costs, resulting in the Pentagon spending an extra $135 billion since 2008. About $70 billion was the fault of poor management or execution problems, according to the GAO.
One program alone, the Joint Strike Fighter, accounted for $28 billion of the increase. The plane has been a money pit because of unproven technology and other problems.
Many of the cost overruns among the 98 programs examined by the GAO were due to changes in design, schedule delays and new, unproven equipment.
The news is supplemented by another report that came out last week about how the U.S. has wasted or misspent $34 billion contracting for services in Iraq and Afghanistan. These findings were produced by a bipartisan congressional panel, the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
GAO: Most Pentagon Weapons Programs Exceed Cost Estimates (by Kellie Lunney, Government Executive)
Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs (Government Accountability Office) (pdf)
Report Finds Vast Waste in U.S. War Contracts (by Nathan Hodge, Wall Street Journal)


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