WASHINGTON — At a Senate hearing on the Pentagon budget, Army Secretary John McHugh called for acquisition reform during a Senate hearing on the Pentagon budget Thursday. While acknowledging the Army's own dismal history, saying McHugh said: "The Army's track record on acquisition programs is too often a tale of failure."

"Too many underperforming or canceled programs, too few successful fieldings of developmental designs and far too many taxpayer dollars wasted. We know this, and we will do better," McHugh told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

"In this critical area, while many significant strides have been made over the last five years, in reducing bureaucracy and improving our oversight, we have a long way to go," he said.

The Army's high-profile multibillion-dollar acquisitions graveyard included in recent years the canceled Ground Combat Vehicle, Armed Aerial Scout, and sprawling Future Combat Systems.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno called on lawmakers to consider acquisition reform measures, including a greater role for the service chiefs.

"There's a message that gets sent throughout the acquisition force that they don't work for the uniformed military, they work for the civilians," Odierno said. "And I think that's a dangerous message, because I think our experience in support of the process is very important and I think we should play a bigger role in approving where we're going."

McHugh said the idea, "makes some sense," and favored a deeper look at the question and the need to ensure civilian command, saying, "I don't think the two are mutually exclusive."

E-mail: jgould@defensenews.com

Twitter: @reporterjoe

Joe Gould was the senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry. He had previously served as Congress reporter.

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