Magazine article National Defense

Weapons Acquisition Reform Act: The Aftermath

Magazine article National Defense

Weapons Acquisition Reform Act: The Aftermath

Article excerpt

* The hoopla over passage of the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 has given way to much skepticism and incertitude about the impact of the legislation. Pentagon and industry insiders generally agree that WSARA is not going to immediately cure endemic ills that have festered weapons programs for decades.

Conversations with Pentagon officials suggest that, beyond loads of new paperwork requirements, WSARA may not be the game changer that Congress had envisioned, said David J. Berteau, director of the defense industrial initiatives group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Former deputy secretary of defense and CSIS President John Hamre said it is far from clear what WSARA's impact will be. The view inside the Pentagon, he said, is that "we were able to keep it from doing any damage," which reinforces the cynics' argument that the law will not fundamentally shake up the status quo.

WSARA's more consequential reform was the creation of a cost-estimating office within the Pentagon, the director of cost analysis and program evaluation. CAPE is expected to come up with realistic cost estimates, and also is required to inform Congress when programs are in trouble. …

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