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Project on Government Oversight

Good Government Groups Urge Congress to Preserve Key Acquisition Reform Principles and Support Secretary Gate’s Weapons Cuts

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May 6, 2009

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO), National Taxpayers Union (NTU), Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS), and U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) sent a letter yesterday to the Chairs and Ranking members of the Senate and House Armed Services committees urging them to preserve key provisions to reform and improve the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) acquisition system. 
 
But while both bills address important principles of reform, the groups believe that the Senate version of the bill implements superior mechanisms to address the challenges confronting DoD.
 
“The Senate bill incorporates strategies for dealing with the problems we have studied extensively and know exist in the defense procurement process,” said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian.  “But nothing will change if these and existing rules continue to be flaunted by the Pentagon and ignored by the Congress.”
 
The groups’ letter highlights provisions in the Weapons Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 (S. 454) and the Weapons Acquisition System Reform Through Enhancing Technical Knowledge and Oversight (WASTE TKO) Act of 2009 (H.R. 2101) that would ensure programs have design maturity, elevate independent cost estimates, increase accountability for programs that experience critical cost growth, reduce organizational conflicts of interest, increase competition, and add transparency to the procurement process.  Additionally, the groups urged the members of Congress to increase discipline in the procurement process, beginning with upholding the weapons cuts proposed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. 
 
This legislation is only one of many steps necessary to reform DoD’s procurement system, the groups said.  “In order to achieve lasting, meaningful change, the Pentagon must follow the rules and controls in place, and Congress must conduct oversight to make sure that they do so,” said the groups.   

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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