GAO Study Reveals Lack of Pentagon Review over Lucrative Weapons Contracts

WASHINGTON, May 19—Today, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report, “Procedures Needed for Sharing Information on Contract Choice among Military Departments,” commissioned by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). It examines whether the Pentagon is using the most cost-effective forms of contracts in its major defense acquisition programs.

GAO found that, last year, the Pentagon suspended mandatory peer reviews—a process in which senior Defense Department contracting officials from different departments review each other’s work—for competitive contracts above $1 billion. Additionally, GAO reported that the individual military departments have stopped sharing information, data, and best practices between one another in order to improve business and contracting practices.

“Today, our military spending is greater than the next 11 countries combined. We have a Pentagon budget filled with unbelievable amounts of waste, fraud, and abuse,” said Sanders. “That is why I asked GAO to examine how the Defense Department awards Pentagon contractors with weapons deals. What we found is that robust review on many billion-dollar arms contracts has stopped. That is outrageous.”

“At a time of record wealth and income inequality, we have got to demand that the military reinstitute basic steps like peer reviews on weapons purchases in order to reduce Pentagon bloat. In the face of this pandemic, we have got to refocus our priorities. We should be using the enormous cost savings that come from eliminating Pentagon waste to invest our resources in genuine human needs.”

This is the first in a series of ongoing GAO reports commissioned by Sen. Sanders identifying ways to improve business and contracting practices at the Department of Defense.