Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall believes Sen. John McCain‘s (R-Ariz.) move to give greater authority on defense acquisition programs to service chiefs may still result in cost and schedule issues, Breaking Defense reported Monday.
Colin Clark writes that Kendall told the publication in an exclusive interview about his concerns on the timing of the senator’s plan as part of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill.
“The thing that bothers me the most about the SASC bill is that it destroys my ability to lead,” Kendall said in the interview.
Clark reports that the committee, of which McCain serves as chairman, has included provisions on defense acquisition reform that place increased power over weapons buying on the heads of the four military branches and impose penalties for poor acquisition performance.
Kendall pointed to a study by David McNicol and Linda Wu of the Institute for Defense Analyses, which indicates that weapons program costs tend to be higher when budget is tight.
He attributed the findings of the study to a “bias for optimism” among the armed services, Clark writes.
“They (service chiefs) would like to have more freedom. but on the other hand I think the results you can expect if that happens — and history bears us out — are going to be exactly what both Senator McCain and I both want to prevent,” Kendall said.