Acquisitions Performance Best in 30 Years

Defense Department major acquisition programs are at a “30-year low in cost growth,” Frank Kendall told reporters at the Pentagon Friday. The claim was detailed in the “Performance of the Defense Acquisition System” report for 2016, which was officially released Monday morning. Kendall, the under?secretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics (ATL), attributed the success to the department’s “Better Buying Power” reforms that have focused on realism in cost estimation and incentives for quicker and more cost-effective performance by military contractors. Key to achieving the cost reductions over 1,123 major contracts and 239 programs, Kendall said, was avoiding “disastrous outliers,” like the Army’s future combat systems and the Navy’s A-12 program. The next area ripe for acquisitions reform, according to Kendall, is sustainment. “That’s where we spend all the money,” he said, offering the success of the F-35 program in reducing sustainment costs as a model for future acquisitions projects. Making reference to congressional budget proposals that seek to eliminate the ATL office, Kendall also offered the conclusions of the report as evidence that “abolishing my position … is a mistake,” a case he said he has made with committees and chairmen in both houses of Congress.