US Marine Corps (USMC) commandant General Robert Neller said it was helpful that Congress legislated more acquisition powers to the service chiefs, but that programmes are still hamstrung by Cold War-era acquisition regulations.
“You’ve got to change the rule set, the acquisition rules haven’t change a lot,” Gen Neller said during 25 January remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The fiscal year 2016 (FY 2016) National Defense Authorization Act empowers the service chiefs with acquisition authorities once centralised in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. It also seeks to make them more accountable for programmes that over-run budgets, as the chiefs have to approve certain milestones, re-approve projects that breached cost-growth caps, and more.
This means the chiefs would notionally be held responsible for failed programmes, but they have not necessarily received more latitude for administering programmes.
For example, Gen Neller noted that all the military services and Pentagon offices want acquisitions to move faster, but the process is not designed to move quickly and largely has not changed.
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