Sen. Carper Expresses Disappointment with Rising Defense Weapons Systems Costs

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security, expressed his deep disappointment with the findings of a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that revealed $447 billion in weapon systems cost growth through 2011, an increase of $39 billion since 2010.

The report also found that, of the cost growth for over the past year, $31.1 billion of the cost growth is directly attributable to errors and inefficiencies in the weapons systems manufacturing and design process, effectively deemed as wasted money. In last year’s report, weapon systems cost growth totaled $408 billion (adjusted for inflation), up from $296 billion in 2008.

“The major weapon systems discussed in this report are critical to our missions overseas and to our continued ability to be ready for any future challenge,” said Sen. Carper. “While we need to do everything we can to ensure that our men and women in uniform are equipped with the best and most modern weapons technology, the fact that our weapons systems costs have ballooned to $447 billion is alarming. However, it is even more disturbing and disappointing that, in the past year alone, we flushed away $31.1 billion on errors and inefficiencies in the manufacturing and design process. This is clearly unacceptable. The Department of Defense must do a better job of efficiently developing our nation’s largest and most costly weapons. These cost overruns not only waste taxpayer money, but also put additional strain on a military budget that is already stretched thin. If we are going to have any hope of strengthening our military and achieving a balanced budget down the line, we’ve got to reverse the trend of growing weapons system cost overruns. As with many of our federal programs, we must get better results for less money in this area, too. Secretary Panetta has made it a top priority to address the Department of Defense’s shortcomings in financial management and weapons cost overruns are no exception. I look forward to working with Secretary Panetta to find the root causes of the mounting cost overruns and hopefully reverse this disturbing trend.”

To view a copy of GAO’s report, please visit: