The Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle was largely responsible for the increased cost of DoD acquisition programs in 2013, although savings were garnered on a majority of the programs. (US Air Force)
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon improved its buying power on 51 of its 80 programs in 2013, resulting in $23 billion of procurement savings, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.
The report, however, did show the estimated cost of DoD’s 80 acquisition programs increased by $14 billion, primarily due to the addition of one new program, the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle.
“There are still some programs that have performed poorly, both over the past year and in the longer term,” the report states.
Still, a DoD acquisition official called the GAO assessment “the most encouraging to date,” according to a memo included in the report’s comments section.
The Pentagon, under then-acquisition chief Ashton Carter, launched the Better Buying Power initiative in 2010 in an effort to get DoD more bang for its buck. Frank Kendall, the current DoD acquisition chief, updated the Better Buying Power guidance in 2012 and formalized many of the Better Buying Power initiatives in guidance late last year.
DoD’s entire acquisition portfolio decreased from 85 to 80 programs in 2013, according to GAO.
“[W]hile the department has been successful in implementing its ‘should cost’ initiative to reduce contract costs and established configuration steering boards, the establishment of limits on total program costs ... and the need for greater competition are not being implemented to the same degree,” the report states. “In addition, many programs continue to commit to production before completing developmental testing.”■