WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) expressed outrage that the procurement process for the purchase of a new handgun by the Army has taken 10 years and produced nothing but hundreds of pages of paperwork. The findings were the result of an investigation by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the latest installment of his “America’s Most Wasted” series on wasteful government spending.
More than 30 years after taxpayers were shocked by revelations from the Grace Commission that the Department of Defense (DOD) had spent $436 on a hammer and $640 on a toilet seat, waste and inefficiency still plague the procurement process (CAGW was founded in 1984 following the release of the Grace Commission report). Sen. McCain’s report cited small arms experts who “estimated that just the paperwork and unnecessary requirements could easily add $50 or more to the cost of each handgun” at a total cost of $15 million. And the process is so complex and convoluted that the Army may not field a new handgun at all.
One of the most glaring problems in the requirements for the new handgun is the failure to include the caliber of the cartridge and the type of bullet the new gun should have. While this critically important piece of the new gun is missing, there are specific requirements for much lower priority elements such as the gun’s color and bore brush, along with the size of the margin (“1”) on the “paper used for correspondence.” Allowing critical elements to be decided by the industry while micro-managing lesser priorities will likely result in many smaller top handgun makers abstaining from placing bids. According to the McCain report, that will increase the likelihood of not procuring the “best handgun that commercial industry has to offer.”
CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “We applaud Sen. McCain for his continued work to bring these issues to light. This bungled handgun process is another ridiculous boondoggle in a maddeningly long line of botched acquisitions. The 350 pages and 21 attachments to buy a simple handgun are reminiscent of the 15 pages of specifications issued by the Pentagon to bake chocolate chip cookies. It should not be so difficult for the Army to acquire a new gun. After all, no one can win a battle shooting red tape at the enemy.”
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.