Magazine article Insight on the News

Projects Lose Way in Pentagon's Revolving Door

Magazine article Insight on the News

Projects Lose Way in Pentagon's Revolving Door

Article excerpt

Procurement of a new weapon system by the Pentagon has become such a laborious and lengthy process -- often averaging at least 11 years from start to finish -- that any sense of program continuity and personal accountability is nearly impossible to maintain, according to the recent congressional testimony of General Accounting Office, or GAO, Comptroller General David Walker.

This means that from drawing board to actual deployment, the average procurement project conceivably could outlast the involvement of four program managers, five program executive officers, eight service-acquisition executives, five chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, seven secretaries or undersecretaries of defense and three presidents, Walker pointed out. This may not only help explain why so many military procurement projects seem to go awry, but also why assigning blame for the frequent imbroglios is so difficult. By the time mistakes are recognized and acknowledged, those responsible have made like Elvis and "left the building," shuffling off to their next duty station in the military's ever-churning personnel-promotion machinery. …

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