Government Accountability Office (GAO) Reports
The GAO Reports listed below are a collection of the most frequently reviewed regarding DoD acquisition. For a more detailed list visit the GAO website from the link below:

Website: GAO Reports & Testimony

Number Title Description Date
 17-575 Ford-Class Aircraft Carrier: Follow-On Ships Need More Frequent and Accurate Cost Estimates to Avoid Pitfalls of Lead Ship The Navy intended for the Ford Class aircraft carrier to improve combat capability while reducing acquisition and life-cycle costs. However, as GAO has reported on extensively since 2007, the lead ship has experienced cost growth of nearly 23 percent, with a reduced capability expected at delivery. CVN 78 is estimated to cost $12.9 billion, while the next ship, CVN 79, is estimated to be $11.4 billion. The Navy plans to buy 1-2 more ships in the coming years. June 17
 17-619T Defense Space Acquisitions: DoD Continues to Face Challenges of Delayed Delivery of Critical Space Capabilities and Fragmented Leadership DOD’s space systems provide critical capabilities that support military and other government operations and can take a long time to develop, produce, and launch. These systems can also be expensive to acquire and field, amounting to billions of dollars each year. Given the time and resource demands of DOD’s space systems and the need to ensure taxpayer dollars are used effectively, especially in light of today’s constrained government budget environment, it is essential that DOD manage system acquisitions carefully and avoid repeating past problems. May 17
17-77 Weapon System Requirements: Detailed Systems Engineering Prior to Product Development Positions Programs for Success Cost and schedule growth in DOD major defense acquisition programs persist, and some acquisition reform proponents believe such growth is due to unplanned changes in program requirements (commonly referred to as “requirements creep”). GAO found in June 2015 that cost and schedule growth are often more directly related to a lack of systems engineering, which, if done, would reduce risk by introducing discipline and rigor into the process of defining and understanding a program’s initial requirements. Nov 16
 16-592R Defense Space Acquisitions: Too Early to Determine If Recent Changes Will Resolve Persistent Fragmentation in Management and Oversight National security space leadership responsibilities are fragmented across approximately 60 stakeholder organizations within the Department of Defense (DOD), the Executive Office of the President, the Intelligence Community, and civilian agencies. Officials and experts generally said that no one seems to be in charge of space acquisitions. According to officials and experts, DOD space acquisitions generally take too long due to fragmented leadership, a redundant oversight bureaucracy, and difficulty coordinating among numerous stakeholders. While these challenges are not limited to space-related acquisition efforts, officials and experts stated that the problems are often magnified because space technologies are frequently obsolete by the time they are deployed. July 16
 15-657 GPS: Actions Needed to Address Ground System Development Problems and User Equipment Production Readiness The Air Force has experienced significant difficulties developing the Global Positioning System (GPS) next generation operational control system (OCX) and consistently overstated progress to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) compared to advisory independent assessments it received. It needs $1.1 billion and 4 years more than planned to deliver OCX due to poor acquisition decisions and a slow recognition of development problems. Sep 15
 15-469 Acquisition Process: Military Service Chiefs’ Concerns Reflect Need to Better Define Requirements before Programs Start Most current and former military service chiefs and vice chiefs GAO interviewed from the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps collectively expressed dissatisfaction with acquisition program outcomes and believed that the Department of Defense’s (DOD) requirements development and acquisition processes need to be better integrated. Jun 15
 15-466 Weapon Systems Acquisitions: Opportunities Exist to Improve the Department of Defense’s Portfolio Management  The Department of Defense (DOD) is not effectively using portfolio management to optimize its weapon system investments, as evidenced by affordability challenges in areas such as shipbuilding and potential duplication among some of its programs. Best practices recommend assessing investments collectively from an enterprise-wide perspective and integrating requirements, acquisition, and budget information, but several factors inhibit DOD’s ability to do so. Aug 15
15-459 Defense Satellite Communications:
DOD Needs Additional Information to Improve Procurements
The Department of Defense’s (DOD) procurement of commercial satellite communications (SATCOM), or bandwidth, is fragmented and inefficient. July 15
15-423  Defense: Acquisition Rulemaking Practices The Department of Defense’s (DOD) acquisition rulemaking procedures are governed by 41 U.S.C. 1707, which generally requires DOD to issue a proposed rule for each rulemaking that provides not less than a 30-day public comment period. Apr 15
 15-366 Defense Acquisitions: Space Based Infrared System Could Benefit from Technology Insertion Planning This report examines (1) the extent to which the Air Force assessed the feasibility of inserting newer technologies into SBIRS GEO satellites 5 and 6 and (2) plans to address obsolescence issues and risk associated with technology insertion for future satellites or systems. GAO identified technology insertion planning guidance and practices, reviewed the Air Force’s assessment and plans, and met with DOD and contractor offices. Apr 15
 15-342 Defense Acquisitions: Assessment of Selected Weapons Systems Over the past year, the overall size of DOD’s major defense acquisition program portfolio decreased, from 80 programs to 78, while the estimated cost has decreased by $7.6 billion. The size and cost of the portfolio is currently the lowest in a decade. The decrease in current portfolio cost is due primarily to significant quantity decreases on two programs—most other programs actually experienced a cost increase over the past year Mar 15
15-188  Defense Acquisitions:
Better Approach Needed to Account for Number, Cost, and Performance of Non-Major Programs
The Department of Defense (DOD) could not provide sufficiently reliable data for GAO to determine the number, total cost, or performance of DOD’s current acquisition category (ACAT) II and III programs Mar 15
 15-192 Acquisition Reform: DoD Should Streamline Its Decision-Making Process for Weapon Systems to Reduce Inefficiencies The acquisition programs GAO surveyed spent, on average, over 2 years completing numerous information requirements for their most recent milestone decision, yet acquisition officials considered only about half of the requirements as high value. The requirements, in total, averaged 5,600 staff days to document. Feb 15
15-88 Defense Contractors: Additional Actions Needed to Facilitate the Use of DOD’s Inventory of Contracted Services Nov 14
15-7 Space Acquisitions: Additional Knowledge Would Better Support Decisions about Disaggregating Large Satellites It is not yet known whether and to what degree disaggregation can help the Department of Defense (DOD) reduce acquisition costs and increase the resilience of its satellite systems. Experts GAO spoke with identified an array of benefits and limitations Oct 14
11-380R Defense Acquisitions:
Application of Lessons Learned and Best Practices in the Presidential Helicopter Program
This report provides several lessons learned from the acquisition strategy and eventual termination of the VH-71 program apply to the VXX program. Mar 11
10-706T Defense Acquisitions:
Observations on Weapon Program Performance and Acquisition Reform
The testimony includes observations about (1) DOD’s efforts to manage its portfolio of major defense acquisition programs, (2) the knowledge attained at key junctures of a subset of 42 weapon programs from the 2009 portfolio, (3) other factors that can affect program execution, and (4) DOD’s implementation of recent acquisition reforms. May 10
12-357 Defense Acquisitions:
Further Action Needed to Improve Accountability for DoD Inventory Contracted Services
GAO recommends that the military departments and components develop guidance that provides for clear lines of authority, responsibility, and accountability for conducting an inventory review and that the Army and Air Force resolve known instances of contractors performing inherently governmental functions. DOD largely agreed with GAO’s recommendations. Apr 12
11-21 Space Acquisitions:
Challenges in Commercializing Technologies Developed under the Small Business Innovation Research Program
GAO recommends that DOD consider collecting data on all SBIR technologies that transition into DOD acquisitions or the commercial sector and ensure these data are defined and recorded consistently. Nov 10
09-684 Space Acquisitions:
Government and Industry Partners Face Challenges in Developing New Space Systems
Estimated costs for major space acquisition programs have increased by
about $10.9 billion from initial estimates for fiscal years 2008 through 2013.
30 Apr 09
07-730T Space Acquisitions:
Actions Needed to Expand and Sustain Use of Best Practices
GAO has made recommendations on steps DOD can take to ensure better outcomes for its space acquisitions programs. 19 Apr 07
07-96 Space Acquisitions:
DoD Needs to Take More Action to Address Unrealistic Initial Cost Estimates of Space Systems
GAO recommends that DOD take a number of actions to increase the likelihood that independent, more realistic cost estimates will be developed and utilized. Nov 06
08-552T Space Acquisitions:
Major Space Programs Still at Risk for Cost and Schedule Increases
GAO recommendation on Space Acquisitions concerning cost and schedule increases 4 Mar 08
09-921 Contract Management:
Extent of Federal Spending under Cost-Reimbursement Contracts Unclear and Key Controls Not Always Used
GAO is making recommendations to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) regarding how contracts are coded in the government’s procurement database and aimed at encouraging timely analysis to determine if a transition can be made to a contract with a firmer pricing basis. Sept 09
09-543T Defense Acquisitions:
Measuring the Value of DoD Weapons Programs Requires Starting with a Realistic Estimate
GAO examines realistic estimates in DoD acquisitions 1 Apr 09
03-1073 Defense Acquisitions:
Improvements Needed in Space Systems Acquisition Management Policy
GAO is recommending that DoD modify its policy to separate technology development from product development and ensure decisions to start programs are based on sound criteria. Sep 03
04-514 Future Years Defense Program:
Actions Needed to Improve Transparency of DOD’s Projected Resource Needs
GAO makes recommendations to provide Congress more data in fiscal year 2005 and beyond on known or likely costs of operations, and to enhance the FYDP as a tool in the new strategic environment. May 04
01-33 Future Years Defense Program:
Risks in Operation and Maintenance and Procurement Programs
GAO makes recommendation on Operation and Maintenance and Procurement Programs Oct 00
96-162 Best Practices:
Commercial Quality Assurance Practices Offer Improvement for DoD
This report describes (1) the historical problems DOD has had in improving quality assurance practices, (2) some private sector practices that could benefit DOD, and (3) a current plan for improving quality assurance activities. Aug 96
08-294 Best Practices:
Increased Focus on Requirements and Oversight Needed to Improve DOD’s Acquisition Environment and Weapon System Quality
The GAO compared quality management practices used by the Department of Defense (DoD) and its contractors to those used by leading commercial companies and make suggestions for improvement. Feb 08
96-162 Best Practices:
Commercial Qulaity Assurance Practices Offer Improvement for DoD
This report describes (1) the historical problems DOD has had in improving quality assurance practices, (2) some private sector practices that could benefit DOD, and (3) a current plan for improving quality assurance activities. Aug 96
12-120G Best Practices:
Schedule Assessment Guide – Best Practices for Project Schedul
The ten best practices associated with a high-quality and reliable schedule and their concepts. May