House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon promises to take another close look at one of the Pentagon's most troubled processes, how it decides what weapons it needs.
Rep. McKeon made the promise in the committee's just-released oversight plan: "As part of its oversight, the committee will continue to examine in depth the military requirements process that is the foundation of the acquisition system. Weapons system programs begin with the validation of a military requirement. The process by which this occurs, while lengthy and filled with multi-service consultation, continues to produce outcomes which do not reflect the jointness that the military has achieved at the operating level."
McKeon joins a host of senior officials at the Pentagon in his concern about the requirements process. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Army vice chief of staff, Gen. Peter Chiarelli, recently retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula and a host of other senior military leaders recently have lamented the complex and often fatally flawed manner in which the services and OSD decide which weapons to buy and how they should be designed.
In addition to reviewing requirements, the HASC promises to scrutinize, "acquisition programs that no longer represent the best value for the taxpayer, due to a changing security environment, mismanagement, or the time required to deliver a useful capability to the warfighter..." Top of the list for review will be the programs that Gates has targeted for either elimination, reduction or review: the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle; the Non-Line of Sight Launch System; the Surface-Launched Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile; the Excalibur 155mm Precision Guided Munition; and the Marines F-35B, the short take-off and vertical landing variant of the Joint Strike Fighter.