Pentagon to unveil affordability measures

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Pentagon’s acquisition chief on Tuesday are expected to announce several measures to make Pentagon contracts more affordable and eliminate unnecessary spending on weapons and services.

Gates and Carter, the acquisition chief, will issue guidance on Tuesday that was developed from internal Pentagon leadership deliberations and from the more than 500 recommendations made by the military acquisition community, defense industry, academia and Congress. 

The guidance is expected to be directed at the Pentagon’s acquisition corps, but it would also have a direct impact on the business of defense companies. 

Carter’s office sent out an invitation to trade associations and defense company CEOs to meet with him and discuss the new guidance Thursday morning at the Army-Navy Club in Washington, D.C. 

The acquisition chief met at the end of June with more than 200 defense company and trade association executives and laid out the framework for the Pentagon’s plan to squeeze as much as $60 billion over the next five years from weapon, product, supply and service contracts.

The Pentagon spends about $400 billion on products and services out of a budget of about $700 billion per year, Carter said at the time. Pentagon leaders are looking for 2 to 3 percent in savings on that $400 billion, Carter said in June. 

Major defense companies such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Boeing Co. have all backed the effort and applauded Pentagon officials for reaching out to the industry for input.

This story was updated at 1:41 p.m.