Obama signs weapons procurement reform

May 22, 2009 at 12:54 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 22 (UPI) -- U.S. military weapons procurement, long criticized for bloat and inefficiency, changed Friday when President Obama signed into law purchase reforms.

"I'm proud to join Democratic and Republican members of Congress for the signing of a bill that will eliminate some of the waste and inefficiency in our defense projects," Obama said during the signing ceremony. He said they were "reforms that will better protect our nation, better protect our troops, and save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars."

The purpose of the law is to curb cost overruns "before they spiral out of control," Obama said. It also will increase oversight and accountability by appointing officials to control the costs of weapons that have already been ordered.

"If the cost of certain defense projects continues to grow year after year, those projects will be closely reviewed, and if they don't provide the value we need, they will be terminated," he said.

The law also will spur competition and end conflicts of interest in the weapons acquisition process, he said.

The Pentagon already has begun reducing use of no-bid defense contracts, Obama said. In addition, Defense Secretary Robert Gates included in his 2010 budget request "reforms in our defense budget that will target waste and strengthen our military for the future," Obama said.

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