The Guardian 23 April, 2008

Pentagonís weapon spending surges

The US Defence Departmentís spending on weapon systems has surged to US$1.6 trillion in 2007, doubling from US$790 billion in 2000, according to a congressional report released last week. The report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), says the acquisition costs were 26 percent higher than the original estimates in 2007, and the spending on research and development were 40 percent over the budget. Despite the higher-than-budget cost, about 72 programs were still falling behind schedule by an average of 21 months, including fighter jets, combat ships and satellites.

However, the Defence Department, whose personnel and budgets have been strained by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, still plan to invest about US$900 million over the next five years in the development of weapon systems and procurement. General Dodaro, the GAOís Acting Comptroller General says the defence budgets "spent inefficiently in developing and procuring weapon systems" and of compromising "many other internal and external budget priorities.

"These inefficiencies often result in the delivery of less capability than initially planned, either in the form of fewer quantities or delayed delivery of the war-fighter," he said.


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