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TITLE III--ADDITIONAL ACQUISITION PROVISIONS
SEC. 304. COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES REPORTS ON COSTS AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION REGARDING MAJOR DEFENSE ACQUISITION PROGRAMS.
(a) Review of Operating and Support Costs of Major Weapon Systems-
(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report on growth in operating and support costs for major weapon systems.
(2) ELEMENTS- In preparing the report required by paragraph (1), the Comptroller General shall, at a minimum--
(A) identify the original estimates for operating and support costs for major weapon systems selected by the Comptroller General for purposes of the report;
(B) assess the actual operating and support costs for such major weapon systems;
(C) analyze the rate of growth for operating and support costs for such major weapon systems;
(D) for such major weapon systems that have experienced the highest rate of growth in operating and support costs, assess the factors contributing to such growth;
(E) assess measures taken by the Department of Defense to reduce operating and support costs for major weapon systems; and
(F) make such recommendations as the Comptroller General considers appropriate.
(b) Review of Financial Information Relating to Major Defense Acquisition Programs-
(1) REVIEW- The Comptroller General of the United States shall perform a review of weaknesses in operations affecting the reliability of financial information on the systems and assets to be acquired under major defense acquisition programs.
(2) ELEMENTS- The review required under paragraph (1) shall--
(A) identify any weaknesses in operations under major defense acquisition programs that hinder the capacity to assemble reliable financial information on the systems and assets to be acquired under such programs in accordance with applicable accounting standards;
(B) identify any mechanisms developed by the Department of Defense to address weaknesses in operations under major defense acquisition programs identified pursuant to subparagraph (A); and
(C) assess the implementation of the mechanisms set forth pursuant to subparagraph (B), including--
(i) the actions taken, or planned to be taken, to implement such mechanisms;
(ii) the schedule for carrying out such mechanisms; and
(iii) the metrics, if any, instituted to assess progress in carrying out such mechanisms.
(3) CONSULTATION- In performing the review required by paragraph (1), the Comptroller General shall seek and consider input from each of the following:
(A) The Chief Management Officer of the Department of Defense.
(B) The Chief Management Officer of the Department of the Army.
(C) The Chief Management Officer of the Department of the Navy.
(D) The Chief Management Officer of the Department of the Air Force.
(4) REPORT- Not later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report on the results of the review required by paragraph (1).
Comptroller General of the United
States reports on costs and financial information regarding major
defense acquisition programs (sec. 304)
The Senate bill contained two provisions (sec. 104(b) and sec. 209) that would require reports by the Government Accountability Office on: (1) operating and support costs of major weapon systems; and (2) financial information relating to major defense acquisition programs.
The House amendment contained no similar provision.
The House recedes with an amendment incorporating the two reporting requirements into a single provision.
Statements by Senators Coburn and Levin
Congressional Record, Senate, May 7, 2009, Consideration of S. 454, the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, P. S5257
Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, first of all, let
me relay my appreciation to both the chairman and the ranking
member for this bill. It does a lot of things that needed to be
done for a long time. I would also say it will not do anything
unless the President puts in the right person who has the right
character; that is, mean as all get out, thorough, and
comprehensive in what they are going to do and plans on staying
there for a long time.
The other points I wanted to make, and I will be brief--really there are two. I have listened to all of this debate, not necessarily here but from my office. There is one thing that is missing in the debate. We have had the problem with contractors, and there is a problem with the Pentagon. But not once did I hear there is a problem with us.
The real reason we have gotten into trouble to the degree we have is because we have not done the oversight. We have not done our job. So we are seeing a great response now by the leadership of the Armed Services Committee to do some of the right things. But had we been doing our job, much of what we see in terms of failed major procurement systems, lack of transparency, we could have had that transparency had we been doing the oversight.
I will give you an example. Senator Carper and I did the transparency on the C-5 retrofit, and we had a supposed Nunn-McCurdy breach when, in fact, there was not a Nunn-McCurdy breach. The people wanted there to be a Nunn-McCurdy breach. The fact is, we could in fact cut down costs, create transparency, not just with the effects of what this bill is going to do, but if we are much more aggressive.
The last point I will make is that there is no question that the earmarking process hampers us far more than it helps us in the Pentagon. When we see the amount of time that is spent on most projects versus oversight, the American taxpayers are getting shortchanged. They are just getting shortchanged.
I hope people will recognize that although sometimes earmarks turn out to be fantastic, the vast majority of times they do not, and we spend staff time doing that rather than managing what is happening there today.
Our No. 1 charge under the Constitution is the defense of this country, and we do not just spend $500 billion on that or $600 billion. When we add up everything we spend, it comes--if we count nuclear weapons maintenance and we count the research for nuclear warheads, if we count everything that goes through, we are about at $1 trillion. When we add everything else, that comes to that. And we are highly inefficient.
I am very appreciative with what is happening within this bill. But I think the American public ought to recognize that the earmarking process in Congress has hurt the Defense Department because it has taken away from us doing our regular job.
No. 2, Congress has hurt our procurement and our ability to defend ourselves because we are not doing the work we need to be doing, the oversight on a monthly basis on major programs. We cannot depend on IGs and the GAO. We have to ask them: Are you on time? Are you meeting the schedule we need to do this because we are putting one-third of our assets that we expend every year into defense? It is rich. And when we pay out $7, $8 billion for performance contracts that the performance contractor did not make, did not meet the requirements, but we pay it anyhow, we are the ones who allow that to happen.
Finally, the last point I will make: Until we address the revolving door of working in the Pentagon and going to work for a contractor and how that impacts what people do in terms of procurement and major decisions, we are not going to solve this problem. Whether it is an ethical constraint or a positive statement of principles, somehow we have to address that issue because we cannot blame the people who are looking for their next job to be less than perfectly independent in this job if, in fact, it is going to affect their future.
So we have not addressed that in this bill, but that is still one of the things that has to be addressed because it is problematic not only in terms of how well we do but what we get for what we actually pay out.
Again, I thank the chairman and ranking member. I appreciate their work. I appreciate them taking our amendment. My hope is that when we combine what we have put forward with a--I cannot use the word I want to use on the Senate floor--but someone of significantly tough demeanor to ramrod this through there, that, in fact, we will see great savings, better performance, and better procurement for the American taxpayers.
Mr. LEVIN. Let me thank the Senator from
Oklahoma for his amendment. It was just adopted. It is a very
significant amendment, and what it reflects is the determination
of the Senator from Oklahoma to get the Defense Department to do
something that in law they are required to do, which is to give
us a financial statement which receives a clean audit opinion.