Procurement Trap?

While Pentagon procurement funding is going up slightly and research and development funding remains at a near historic high, the military is not buying enough new hardware fast enough, Todd Harrison, a fellow with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told reporters Wednesday in Washington, D.C. This, he said during the rollout of CSBA’s annual analysis of the defense budget, is due to the fact that development cycles are growing longer and affecting the employment of new systems. “The ratio of procurement dollars to [research and development] dollars has been falling,” he said, noting that in the 1980s, the Defense Department spent three dollars in procurement for every dollar in R&D funding. Today, the ratio stands at 1.4:1. “We’re spending more on developing increasingly complex weapon systems and that means we’re not able then to fund the procurement of these systems in sufficient quantities,” Harrison said. (CSBA’s budget analysis.) (For more from Harrison’s briefing, read Black Budget Boom.)