The GAO released an interesting document today, calling for “MDA to play by the regular rules of defense acquisition”:http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09466t.pdf. The “challenges identified” previously include:
* _Incorporating Combatant Command Priorities_: While DOD established a process in 2005 to address the combatant commands’ needs for ballistic missile defense capabilities, GAO reported in 2008 that the process was evolving and had yet to overcome key limitations to its effectiveness, including the need for more effective methodologies to clearly identify and prioritize the combatant commands’ needs. Additionally, when developing ballistic missile defenses, MDA lacked a departmentwide perspective on which of the commands’ needs were most significant.
* _Establishing Adequate Baselines to Measure Progress_: MDA’s flexible acquisition approach has limited the ability for DOD and congressional decision makers to measure MDA’s progress on cost, schedule, and testing. Specifically, as GAO reported in March 2009, MDA’s baselines have been inadequate to measure progress and hold MDA accountable. However, GAO also reported that new MDA initiatives to improve baselines could help improve acquisition accountability.
* _Planning for Long-Term Operations and Support_: DOD has taken initial steps to plan for ballistic missile defense support, but efforts to date are incomplete as difficulties in transitioning responsibilities from MDA to the services have complicated long-term planning. Additionally, although operation and support costs are typically 70 percent of a weapon system’s life cycle costs, DOD has not required that full cost estimates for ballistic missile defense operations and support be developed and validated, and DOD’s 6-year spending plan does not fully reflect these costs.
If the nuances are eluding you, the message comes down to this: the administration should start treating MDA as a military program rather than a political program.
If you’re perplexed by the title of this post, “see here”:http://www.bartleby.com/63/53/7153.html.