Lies, Damned Lies, and The Pentagon’s Latest Budget Numbers

April 9, 2012

There's a pair of must-reads just out for anyone paying attention to the Pentagon's acquisition nightmare: one is a routinely scheduled, but important, report from the Defense Department; the other comes from one of the very few entities doing even minimal oversight of the Department of Defense these days, the Government Accountability Office.

Reviewing the reports separately results in a muddled picture of how the Pentagon buys its weapons. Happily, each report fills some of the data missing in the other. But, the two reports still leave some gaping holes, while providing a false impression of progress in the way the Defense Department buys weapons.

The two reports are GAO's annual review of major hardware acquisition, Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs, and DoD's new Selected Acquisition Report (SAR), both released March 30. What follows is my own After-Action Report — including the gaps, contradictions, and false assurances – after studying the data they do — and don't — contain.

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