Congress Wants Easier Way To Kill Weapons Systems
Two legislative warhorses have teamed up to try to do something that never gets done in Congress: making it easier to kill costly weapons systems.
Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and ranking Republican John McCain , introduced the bill two days before the anticipated release today of the president's budget.
The Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 would give Congress more authority to get rid of programs that have unchecked cost overruns and require more realistic cost estimates be made before new acquisitions are approved.
The bill also would push for more competition in the buying process and have companies build prototypes of weapons systems to make sure they work before they are produced.
Levin said in a statement that the bill would require the Pentagon to "take the steps needed to put major defense acquisition programs on a sound footing from the outset."
McCain said the government needs to "focus acquisition and procurement on emphasizing systems engineering, more effective upfront planning and management of technology risk, and growing the acquisition workforce to meet program objectives."
How the Pentagon buys weapons will fall in large part to Ashton B. Carter, a Harvard University physicist, who was nominated earlier this week to run the Defense Department's procurement office.
There's no way to know whether this bi-partisan push will get traction. There's also no way to know how Carter will run his shop. But stay tuned. There are signs that people are at least starting to look in detail at what is the government getting for its money.
-- Dana Hedgpeth
By Robert O'Harrow |
February 26, 2009; 7:08 AM ET
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