Money and Time

Between May 2005 and February 2006, the Government Accountability Office assessed 23 major weapons development programs and found 10 expecting cost overruns of greater than 30 percent or delivery delays of at least a year. Here's a look at the Top 10 expense gainers.

Program Growth in Development Cost (%) Schedule Slippage (%)
Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle 166 Undetermined
UH-60M helicopter upgrade 151 25
C-130 Avionics Modernization Program 122 Undetermined
Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle 61 70
Future Combat Systems 48 53
Aerial Common Sensor 45 36
Joint Tactical Radio System Waveform 44 Undetermined
Joint Tactical Radio System Cluster 1 31 44
Joint Strike Fighter 30 23
Radar upgrade for F/A-18 aircraft 14 1

Source: Defense Department and Government Accountability Office GAO-06-368 April 2006

Failed Fixes

The Defense Department revised its acquisition policy in 2000 to reduce risk and make costs and schedules more predictable. The reform hasn't had the desired effect. Here's a look at overall totals for 23 major programs the Government Accountability Office studied.

Original Estimate Current Estimate
Cost Growth
(constant 2005 dollars in billions)
$83 $106
Schedule Slippage
(in months)
77 88

Source: Government Accountability Office, April 2006 (GAO-06-368)

Good Money After Bad

Big Defense acquisitions routinely have suffered schedule slips, unanticipated cost hikes and have fallen short on performance over the past 30 years, despite 11 rewrites of Defense Department buying policies. Here's a look at the combined budget bloat for the past three decades in programs worth more than $1 billion.

  • $13 billion The amount of cost overrun in Defense programs from 1970 to 1979
  • $12 billion The value of cost overruns from 1980 through 1989
  • $15 billion The total overrun from 1990 through 1999

Source: Government accountability office

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