Pentagon 12 years late, $6.9 billion over budget with software

The Pentagon has finally brought in a suite of defence software only 12 years late and only $6.9 billion over budget, double what was originally planned.

The Pentagon is bringing in nine software systems, six of which are over a decade late and well above initial pricing, totalling $13.7 billion, compared to the $6.8 billion estimated previously.

The excessive increase was revealed by the US Government Accountability Office, which has criticised the Pentagon and the Inspector General of the Defense Department for its failure to deliver projects in a financially viable way. 

It also revealed that the US Army is six years late with a project that was estimated at $2.6 billion, but that it could not give a modern estimate, which would more than likely be significantly higher, revealing that the problem is widespread among the different military bodies.

Things will have to change, however, if the Pentagon is to pass an audit in 2017, a date set recently by Congress. While seven years is plenty of time to whip everything into shape, some believe it will be impossible to achieve. 

“This is a critical goal and considering the amount of time and money that’s gone into this effort, it’s one that should have been met years ago,” said Democrat Senator Tom Carper, the head of a Senate committee investigating federal finance management. He said that the audit is necessary and will help ensure billions of tax-payer’s money is saved.

Part of the irony of the situation is that much of the software is being brought in to improve  financial management, such as automated accounting and payroll, in the Pentagon, but clearly any savings made in this regard will be outweighed by the billions in initial software costs.

“Significant leadership and oversight challenges have hindered the department’s efforts to implement these systems on schedule, within cost and with intended capabilities,” the Government Accountability Office said.