The procurement of weapons for our armed forces has traditionally been an issue left to "the experts." However, as the build-up in defense expenditures approaches the trillion-dollar level - the largest in peacetime history - more and more questions have begun to be raised about whether taxpayers are getting their money's worth. Issues range from whether we are buying the right systems - highlighted by the controversy surrounding radios that did not allow the Army to talk to the Navy during the Grenada conflict - to the glaring newspaper "horror stories" about weapons that don't work and grossly over-priced spare parts, coffee pots, and hammers. With the deficit rising dramatically and the perception of chaos and corruption in defense procurement increasing, defense expenditures have begun leveling off' and congressional and executive branch attacks on the defense industry, fueled by the press, have risen in intensity. Meanwhile, efforts have been made by the Pentagon to shift public attention away from government management issues and to questionable actions said to have been taken by suppliers; these have given many the impression that acquisition management has become primarily an issue for auditors and lawyers.

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