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John McCain: Defense Acquisition Reform Ideas Aimed at Accountability, ‘Unwarranted Optimism’

Sen. John McCain
Sen. John McCain

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an interview Wednesday that his defense acquisition reform efforts work to address his concerns over accountability and “unwarranted optimism” in acquisition programs.

McCain told Ryan Evans of War on the Rocks that giving a bigger role to service chiefs in program management facilitates both empowerment and accountability for results.

He added that the Pentagon’s main concern regarding the proposed reforms centers on maintaining the defense secretary’s ability to avoid what acquisition chief Frank Kendall referred to as a “bias for optimism” in the services.

“To the contrary, new incentives and real penalties imposed on the services in our plan are designed to put some of this optimism in check,” the senator said.

“[Our] plan will hold those responsible for [acquisition] decisions accountable for the results.”

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