The Pentagon is pledging to reform its much-maligned acquisition structure to enable it to buy better, cheaper weapons.
The Defense Department on Tuesday submitted to Congress a report mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which outlines a proposed restructuring "to better pursue the goals of technological superiority, affordable systems, and well managed business operations."
Both fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017 NDAAs directed the Pentagon to implement the broader reforms with the goal of improving the technical superiority and affordability of weapon systems.
Among the proposed changes is the elimination of the Pentagon's top weapons buyer and creating two new undersecretaries: one for research and engineering and one for acquisition and sustainment.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense is being refocused from program oversight to directing major DoD investments, with an eye toward streamlining the acquisition process, while holding the military services more accountable for program execution and performance.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, who is home in Arizona receiving medical treatment for brain cancer, issued a statement calling the proposed changes "a step in the right direction."
"For too many years, the defense acquisition system has taken too long, cost too much, and produced too little, while America's military technological advantage continues to erode," McCain said. "Congress has shown that we will not tolerate business as usual, with tens of billions of dollars wasted on weapons that deliver too late, or never deliver at all."
The report, titled "Report to Congress Restructuring the Department of Defense Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Organization and Chief Management Officer Organization," is known informally as the "901 report," because it is mandated by section 901 of the FY 2017 NDAA.
It acknowledges that "much work remains to be done" and promises the Pentagon will make additional proposed changes "in partnership and consultation with Congress."