Sunday, May 12, 2019

Procurement issues abound. Between not bidding contracts to massive deficiencies in the JLTV, Zumwalt and of course the F-35...

The Pentagon's purchase of $1.69 trillion worth of major weapons systems has been riddled by cost overruns, delays and other problems reflecting poor oversight, the Government Accountability Office said in its annual survey of Defense Department acquisitions.

The 229-page report subtitled "Limited Use of Knowledge-Based Practices Continues to Undercut DOD's Investments" recommended that the DoD do a better job of checking out the design for a weapons system and what it's supposed to do before buying it.

"Completion of a preliminary design review prior to starting development" would be advisable, the GAO said in its 17th annual survey of defense acquisitions, released Tuesday. "This lack of knowledge and the effects it can have throughout a program's acquisition life cycle can increase the risk of undesirable cost and schedule outcomes."

The report included breakouts on 51 of the 82 major weapons systems examined, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Zumwalt-class stealthy destroyer, Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) and KC-46 aerial refueling tanker.

The GAO said that the DoD's program office for the F-35 is continuing "to address over 900 deficiencies identified with the aircraft's performance prior to the end of development testing."

The report cited as an example the development of "a new helmet mounted display, which will resolve an existing green glow effect that can distort a pilot's vision during night time carrier landings. Program officials expect installation of some of the new displays in 2019."

The Navy is still trying to figure out what to do about the two 155mm deck guns that had been planned for the three Zumwalt-class destroyers, the GAO report said. In development, the Navy found that the cost for a single round for the guns was roughly $800,000.

"Following an evaluation of five other munition options, the Navy determined that no viable replacement, guided or unguided, was feasible," the report said. "As a result, the guns will remain inoperable on the ships for the foreseeable future."

In January 2018, the Navy changed the primary mission for the Zumwalt class from land attack to offensive surface strike.

"According to Navy officials, the Navy's planned modifications to support the new mission will cost about $1 billion," the report said.

On JLTV, "the Army and Marine Corps recently concluded operational testing for JLTV and found the vehicles to be survivable for the crew and effective for small combat and transport missions," the GAO report said.

However, the services also concluded that that the JLTVs were "not operationally suitable because of their high maintenance needs, low reliability, training and manual deficiencies, and safety shortcomings," the report said.

For the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus air refueling tanker, one of several problems Air Force program officials discovered in development is that "the aerial refueling operator's screen does not provide sufficient visual sharpness and adaptation to changing background and lighting to allow for safe refueling in all environmental conditions," the report said.

Boeing is making software fixes without cost to the government, the GAO report said.

As in past surveys, the report hit on a lack of competition on contracts, and often no competition at all, as a factor in rising costs.

The department "did not compete 67 percent of 183 major contracts currently reported" on 82 major weapons systems programs, the report said.
Story here. 


I've been evolving to the position that there is massive waste in our defense budget and this is helping me move further in that direction.

It doesn't take rocket science or even a PHD.

We spend too much money and get too little return on our investment.  Most of this has been reported before.

Everyone knows about the 900 plus deficiencies of the F-35 (more than likely to be pencil whipped for completion of testing and then paid for in blood but that's a different issue).

Everyone knows about the Zumwalt but that might be a blessing in disguise. The Navy needs a new large surface combatant and the Mighty Z might be the arsenal ship we've needed all along.

Two things have me spinning.

The idea that we're not competing contracts is just plain un-American.  It's almost like members of the Pentagon are on the payrolls of certain corporations.

The second is the issue with the JLTV.  Am I the only one that didn't know things were that bad with that program?  It's a freaking truck and Oshkosh is dropping the ball?  Simply amazing!

Update and upgrade the Humvee.  Improve the suspension, add a bigger engine and get Plasan to build a special armor package for the beast.

The overall picture.

We've got to demand better.  Simply saying that our troops demand the best isn't good enough.  They need reliable equipment at a decent price.  Supporting the troops isn't/shouldn't be a license for corporations to fleece the taxpayer!

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