Groundwork Laid for Massive Defense Spending Cuts

Eric Sayers /


During yesterday’s press conference on government contracting reform, President Obama took aim at the defense industry, declaring that “We are spending money on things that we don’t need, and we are paying more than we need to pay, and that’s completely unacceptable.”

Fair enough. We more than agree that it is time to assess the capacity of the federal acquisition workforce to do its job and to clarify where and when “outsourcing” to government contractors is necessary.

But then things went astray. President Obama pointed to a GAO report last year that found cost overruns in DODs major defense projects totaling $295 million, declaring that this sum was “wasteful spending” of which one of its sources is “investments in unproven technologies.”

The solution he offered is quite simple: We need to “minimize risk” and “invest in technologies that are proven and cost-effective…If a system isn’t ready to be developed, we shouldn’t pour resources into it.”

While on its surface this makes acquisition procedures sound simple and sequential, the challenge of developing and deploying cutting-edge technologies is far more complex. (more…)