Rep. Brad Ellsworth today praised new reforms in the defense contracting process that will reduce waste, fraud and abuse of tax dollars. Provisions to hire additional acquisition experts at the Pentagon and increase oversight of the contracting process were approved by the House as part of the annual defense authorization measure, which sets spending priorities for the Department of Defense. The bill passed overwhelmingly in the House, and will now head to the Senate for its consideration.
Structural problems and a lack of oversight of the defense acquisition process have led to billions of dollars of government waste and significant delays in developing weapons systems. In fact, last year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined 96 major defense projects and found cost overruns that totaled $296 billion. The agency found that these same programs are an average of 22 months behind schedule.
"At a time when our armed forces are already strained, waste in our contracting process drains important resources away from them and the programs and missions that are critical to our national defense," said Ellsworth. "This is another important step to improve the process and ensure every cent furthers our goal of ensuring the United States remains the strongest, most advanced military force in the world."
Rep. Ike Skelton, Chairman of the House Armed Services Comittee, praised Ellsworth's efforts to reform the acquisition process and protect the taxpayers from wasteful spending:
"From his position on the Defense Acquisition Reform Panel, Rep. Ellsworth has been well-positioned to help reform the acquisition system at the Department of Defense. I thank him for his hard work both on the panel and on helping craft the acquisition reform provisions in this year's defense bill. I am confident that we will continue to work together to implement reforms and ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely," said Chairman Skelton.
Ellsworth is a member of the bipartisan House Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform, which is tasked with examining the acquisition process to identify the root causes of waste in the system and to make recommendations to Congress on additional improvements going forward.