Jacques Gansler, a former top Pentagon official who has helped the Defense Science Board study military procurement for a DSB report coming out this week, testified Monday on Capitol Hill. One of the problems in Pentagon contracting, he said, is that the military is buying more services (engineering, accounting, security, management) and less stuff (boots, bullets, beans, bombers):
The DSB task force found that overall, the DOD buys more services than supplies. In 2010, for example, 57% of all the acquisitions in terms of dollars were services. By their very nature, services are different from buying weapon systems. Services do not follow an incremental, sequential process, are measured by a wide variety of differing standards, and may require continuous performance, so they’re not subject to amenable breaks in contracts for possibly recompetition.
In other words, if you think the military does a great job buying weapons, you’re going to love its oversight of service contracts.