GAO Finds MDA’s Concurrent Acquisition Strategy Ineffective


The Missile Defense Agency is producing ineffective systems defending against warheads from rogue states as a result of its concurrent acquisition method, according to the Government Accountability Office.

GAO auditors issued a report Friday suggesting the systems MDA purchases are suffering since the agency commits to product development before the technology is fully matured.

Buying products before they have been successfully fielded results in performance shortfalls, test problems, unexpected cost increases and delayed schedules, GAO said.

The MDA uses a concurrent strategy, where it develops, tests and produces the product at the same time, GAO said.

GAO said the MDA’s strategy led to issues with the the Aegis sea-borne missile, the terminal high altitude area defense and ground-based midcourse defense system.

The midcourse system encountered a testing design flaw, increasing the price from $236 million to $1 billion.

It is likely the agency will continue to have similar acquisition challenges as long as it pursues this buying strategy, auditors added.

The agency has likely spent $274 billion on missile defense systems since 1985, according to estimates by Stephen I. Schwartz of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

The report notes that MDA has yet to conduct successful missile countermeasure testing.

MDA spokesman Richard Lehner told the Washington Times in an e-mail that he agreed with the GAO’s recommendations but added that concurrence is needed at times.

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