Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009
|Long title||An act to improve the organization and procedures of the Department of Defense for the acquisition of major weapon systems, and for other purposes.|
|Enacted by||the 111th United States Congress|
|Effective||May 22, 2009|
|Statutes at Large||123 Stat. 1704|
|Acts amended||John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007
Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009
|Titles amended||5, 10|
|U.S.C. sections created||10 USC §139c
10 USC §139d
10 USC §2334
10 USC §2433a
|U.S.C. sections amended||5 USC §5315
10 USC §139a
10 USC §181(b)
10 USC §181(d)
10 USC §2306b(i)(1)(B)
10 USC §2366a
10 USC §2366a(a)
10 USC §2366b
10 USC §2366b(a)(1)(B)
10 USC §2366b(a)(1)(C)
10 USC §2430
10 USC §2433(e)
10 USC §2434(b)(1)
10 USC §2445c(f)(3)(B)
10 USC §2501(a)
10 USC §2505(b)
The Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act (formally Weapons Acquisition System Reform Through Enhancing Technical Knowledge and Oversight Act of 2009) was an Act of Congress passed in 2009 that was created to reform the way the Pentagon contracts and purchases major weapons systems. The bill was signed into law on May 22 by President Barack Obama.
The Congressional Budget Office predicted that the reforms would cost US$55 million and should be in place by the end of 2010. The reforms are expected to save millions, perhaps even billions of dollars during the 2010s. According to the Government Accountability Office, nearly 70% of the Pentagon's 96 biggest weapons programs were over budget in 2008. Another government report detailed $295 billion in waste and cost overruns in defense contracts. The legislation created a Pentagon office, the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE), to analyze the cost of new programs. CAPE reports directly to the Secretary of Defense and supersedes the Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation (PA&E). It also puts more emphasis on testing new weapons before they enter production to ensure sufficient development, giving commanders more say in weapons requirements.
The Act was introduced February 23, 2009. The bill passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously, 411-0 and 93-0, respectively. Upon signing the Act, President Obama cited the need to end the "waste and inefficiency" it addressed.
Key provisions in the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act included:
- Appointment of a Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE), who will communicate directly with the Secretary of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense, and issue policies and establish guidance on cost estimating and developing confidence levels for such cost estimates;
- Appointment of a Director of Developmental Test and Evaluation, who will be the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense on developmental test and evaluation, and will develop DoD-wide polices and guidance for conducting developmental testing and evaluation. This official will review, approve, and monitor such testing for each Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP);
- Appointment of a Director of Systems Engineering, who will be the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense on systems engineering, and will develop DoD-wide policies and guidance for the application of systems engineering. This official will review, approve, and monitor systems engineering practices for each MDAP;
- Requirement that the Director of Defense Research and Engineering periodically assess the technological maturity of MDAPs and annually report his/her findings to Congress;
- Requirement that DoD employ prototyping of MDAPs whenever practical;
- Requirement that combatant commanders have more influence in the requirements generation process;
- Changes to the Nunn–McCurdy Amendment, such as rescinding the most recent "Milestone" approval for any program that has experienced "critical cost growth;" and
- Requirement that DoD revise guidelines and tighten regulations pertaining to conflict of interest of contractors working on MDAPs.
- Reporting by Steve Holland and Andrea Shalal-Esa; writing by David Alexander; Editing by Eric Beech (May 22, 2009). "Obama signs law to reform Pentagon weapons buying". Reuters. Retrieved May 22, 2009.
- Russert, Luke (May 21, 2009). "Weapon bill passes House, goes to Obama". MSNBC.
- Weapons Acquisition System Reform Through Enhancing Technical Knowledge and Oversight Act of 2009. OpenCongress. Accessed May 22, 2009.
- Moshe Schwartz, "Defense Acquisitions: How DOD Acquires Weapon Systems and Recent Efforts to Reform the Process," Congressional Research Service, April 23, 2010, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL34026.pdf
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