Procrastination is the New Norm

Air Force Acting Undersecretary Jamie Morin said the new norm of creeping right up to the edge of “various cliffs,” such as pending government shutdowns or busted debt ceilings, is having a detrimental effect on the way the Defense Department conducts business. It’s “deeply disruptive to the institutions, drives costs to the taxpayers, and undermines the military capability we provide the nation,” he said during an AFA-sponsored talk in Arlington, Va., on Jan. 15. Program managers have become so accustomed to operating under continuing resolutions that they are building delays into program schedules, he said. Although that ultimately leads to higher acquisition costs, Morin said it’s something DOD has “quietly accepted.” If Congress fails to agree on a Fiscal 2013 appropriations bill by March, there are “a dozen or so programs” that would be impacted, he said. However, Morin declined to offer details as to what those programs may be. “We have been doing a pretty good job of mitigating impacts to major acquisition programs. The continuing resolution structure has become a little less serious as the budgets are coming down because you don’t have that many programs that are new starts or are quantity increases, which are the two big limitations under the CR,” he said.