by D. Cupples | The Bush Administration has made great advances in funneling tax dollars to private contractors. As we've repeatedly discussed, the Administration has also done a poor job of 1) negotiating contracts so as to protect us taxpayers, and 2) monitoring the contractors.
In short, it's been a free-for-all climate of waste, fraud, and questionable performance.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report pointing out that the Pentagon's biggest weapons programs are billions over budget and largely behind schedule (see full report or summary.) The GAO has spent years urging the Defense Department ot get its act together -- to no avail. The Washington Post has a good write up:
"The Government Accountability Office found that 95 major systems have exceeded their original budgets by a total of $295 billion, bringing their total cost to $1.6 trillion, and are delivered almost two years late on average. In addition, none of the systems that the GAO looked at had met all of the standards for best management practices during their development stages.
"Auditors said the Defense Department showed few signs of improvement since the GAO began issuing its annual assessments of selected weapons systems six years ago. "It's not getting any better by any means," said Michael Sullivan, director of the GAO's acquisition and sourcing team. "It's taking longer and costing more.'...
"The Pentagon has doubled the amount it has committed to new systems, from $790 billion in 2000 to $1.6 trillion last year, according to the 205-page GAO report. Total acquisition costs in 2007 for major defense programs increased 26 percent from first estimates.
In 2000, 75 programs had cost increases totaling 6 percent. Development costs in 2007 for the systems rose 40 percent from initial projections, compared with 27 percent in 2000. Current programs are delivered 21 months late on average, five months later than in 2000." (Washington Post)
This reminds me of the Navy's handling of the Advance Seal Delivery System (ASDS), which was (supposed to be) a hybrid sub for use by Navy Seals. The program started in the '90s with a $70 million contract: by May 2007, it had cost us taxpayers $885 million.
The kicker: in May 2007, we still didn't have a working vehicle, but the Navy had accepted the product "as is" -- meaning that it can't sue contractor Northup Grumman for even a partial refund.
If you don't mind a dose of outrage, pour a cold drink or cup of tea and check out some of the posts linked below -- and remember, it's not just defense contractors that have taken advantage of us taxpayers.
Other BN-Politics Posts: