Summary: Defense Acquisition Reform, 1960-2009: An Elusive Goal

From 1960 through 2009 there were more than twenty-seven major studies of defense acquisition commissioned by presidents, Congress, and secretaries of defense, government agencies, studies and analyses organizations, and universities. Numerous other noteworthy studies of defense acquisition have been conducted and published by the General Accountability Office during the same period. Much to the surprise of many, the reform studies over the forty-nine-year period arrived at most of the same findings and made similar recommendations. But political will to make the changes, combined with internal dynamics resistant to change, led to only minor improvements. The problems of schedule slippages, cost growth, and technical performance shortfalls on defense acquisition programs have remained much the same throughout this period. Defense Acquisition Reform, 1960 – 2009: An Elusive Goal provides historical and analytical accounts of the defense acquisition process for major weapons systems in order to identify long-term trends, insights, and observations that could provide perspective and context to assist current defense decision makers, acquisition officials, and the acquisition schoolhouse.

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