Forget Inventing on the Fly

The Defense Department needs to better define its acquisition requirements, ensure full-up weapon system design is stable early in the procurement process, and limit development time to a “reasonable horizon,” said Michael Sullivan, director for acquisition and sourcing at the Government Accountability Office. That approach, dubbed “incremental, knowledge-based acquisition,” is necessary to combat the skyrocketing costs of new weapons programs, he told the House Armed Services Committee’s tactical air and land forces panel Tuesday. He added, “There are people in the government and on [the F-35 strike fighter program] beginning to think along those lines, but there is a long way to go. I don’t know if I can name more than two or three programs doing things in that way.” (Sullivan’s prepared remarks)