The Folly of Consequence-Free Budget Scoring
Koenig, Gerald S.
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Current Congressional Budget Office (CBO) budget scoring rules cheat taxpayers and warfighters by ignoring the high cost of not acquiring cost-effective upgrades to critical combat weapons. Treating paid-over-time procurements as if they are paid-up-front budget outlays necessarily perpetuates waste and inefficiency where we can least afford it: on the modern battlefield. As a result, the current acquisition process for such upgrades involves a simplistic, two-step process. First, determine if paying the entire cost up-front of an upgrade is less expensive than the net present value of paying for the upgrade over time. Once paying up-front is ''discovered'' to be the cheaper option (as nearly always occurs), the next step is to abandon the upgrade as soon as it fails to compete successfully for scarce procurement budget dollars. An extremely conscientious program official may repeat this process for a number of budget cycles. But in the end, the outcome is predictable. The game is just rigged that way.
Proceedings Paper (for Acquisition Research Program)
NPS Report NumberNPS-AM-07-023
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