• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Defense Over-Regulations Costing More Than Just Dollars

    picturescolourlibrary/Pictures Colour Library/Newscom

    picturescolourlibrary/Pictures Colour Library/Newscom

    Over the past 50 years, Congress has had a propensity to impose restrictions on the Department of Defense acquisition process in ways that centralize authority. House Armed Service Committee vice chairman Mac Thornberry (R–TX) is trying to change all that by spearheading new efforts to reform the byzantine process.

    But why now?

    “The situation has gotten so bad,” he said, “that in order to supply our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, entire new streamlined procurement systems were created in order to circumvent the normal process.”

    Explaining his role in the process, Thornberry listed the causes of increased acquisition costs, including the fact that nearly 2,000 pages of arcane acquisition regulations govern current transactions. As he argued, “Too much money and manpower is poured into processes and systems that do not yield a single bullet or minute of training.”

    Congress, for its part, needs to be willing to listen to constructive criticism and respond with reforms that encourage self-restraint. This begins with recognizing that excessive centralization in the defense acquisition system begins at the top and that such centralization neither meets Congress’s legislative and oversight responsibilities nor serves the overall effectiveness of the acquisition system.

    Earlier this year, Secretary Hagel listed the acquisitions process as a key driver of defense spending:

    Left unchecked, spiraling costs to sustain existing structures and institutions, provide benefits to personnel, and develop replacements for aging weapons platforms will eventually crowd out spending on procurement, operations and readiness—the budget categories that enable the military to be and stay prepared.

    Today, America faces a number of threats to its vital national interests: the return of great-power competition, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and weapons of lethal precision, the spread of violent extremism, and the dangers presented by failed or failing states. Reforming the acquisitions process is critical for making the most of each dollar spent on our national security.

    Heritage has proposed several reforms for acquisitions:

    These reforms would help to free up resources for badly needed weapons modernization and put the Department of Defense on a sustainable fiscal path. The sooner Congress and the Pentagon work together to implement these reforms, the better for U.S. security, forward-deployed troops, and allies around the world.

    Posted in Capitol Hill, Security [slideshow_deploy]

    Comments are closed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.