Building for Affordability

The decade of increasing defense budgets is over and the Pentagon needs to rein in some of its pie-in-the-sky investment ideas and shape programs around affordability, said Defense Department acquisition executive Ashton Carter. “Our first effort has to be affordability, and that has to be for new programs we’re beginning and ones we’ve already begun,” he told a crowd of roughly 500 military and industry officials at a Center for New American Security briefing in Washington, D.C. Carter focused on the need to do “more without more” during his Tuesday address, saying providing incentives to industry for its productivity and innovation, promoting competition, and reducing bureaucracy will be key to successfully cutting acquisition costs. He cited the Navy’s next-generation ballistic missile submarine as a prime example, noting that officials re-evaluated requirements when the first design and cost estimates came in too high. “We began to shape the design with affordability as a requirement, and we found we could do that,” he said. On previous occasions, Carter has said DOD will take this same approach with the Air Force’s new bomber and family of long-range-strike systems. (CNAS webpage for more information on the event)