At the nub of the problem is the Pentagon’s planning, programming, budgeting and execution process, known as PPBE. It controls the resources that make weapons programs happen, but such is its reputation that Congress created a commission to overhaul the process. It’s due to report this year.
“The Pentagon is such a huge bureaucracy and the budgeting process and acquisition processes are really long, very slow, very cumbersome and very linear,” said Stacie Pettyjohn with the Center for a New American Security. “You’re not really rewarded for taking risks.”
The Pentagon’s largess is so sprawling that, through military bases and contracts, it touches all 535 members of US Congress — money that translates into jobs and revenue for companies that are major campaign donors.
Then there are Pentagon regulations, which over time have helped shape the way defense companies work. The result is traditional defense contractors are adept at maneuvering the onerous regulations process required to do business with the Pentagon, whereas startup firms are not.
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