On June 23, Defense News published Doug Berenson’s call for a consolidation of “the services’ redundant weapons acquisition agencies.” The Managing Director of Avascent Analytics identified a multiplicity of defense offices that buy the same stuff, noting aircraft, C4ISR, and satellite procurement, as just a few areas that could benefit from streamlining. Berenson also cited American allies that have successfully addressed this overarching issue. The UK recently consolidated its defense buying power under a single office in 2007 (France has long since operated thusly) to “gain efficiencies and weapon commonality.” Spain looks be next.
To the services, losing primacy over system acquisition is anathema. A proposal to merge AMCOM, NAVAIR and the erstwhile ASC would be perceived as a dagger to the heart of their Title X responsibilities to “organize, train and equip” military forces.
While some efforts have been made to improve procurement functions, such as the Air Force’s formation of the AFLCMC in 2012, Berenson noted the lack of cross-service efforts in this regard. Instead, each service jealously guards its individual institution’s ability to buy. This is hardly surprising as other efforts to combine government offices with closely aligned responsibilities have failed. Berenson concluded that perhaps new leadership in a 2017 White House may provide the necessary impetus to push reforms that would prevent further cuts to force readiness and weapons modernization.
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