Defense Reform Bill Is Biggest in Decades, But More Remains to Be Done

The FY 2016 NDAA is one of the most significant defense bills in recent years, and congressional leaders should be commended for successfully passing this bill. However, more work remains to be done. The DOD and each of the military services have inefficiencies and challenges that Congress needs to address. As Congress begins thinking about the defense authorization act for FY 2017, they should focus on two issues in particular:

  1. Improving the military health care system. The current military health care system limits the ability of service members and their families to choose health care providers and often makes access to allowed providers difficult. A health care system that increases service member and family access to private-sector medical care can be developed in a way that also provides more affordable care.
  2. Continuing acquisition reform. While the FY 2016 NDAA made some significant reforms to the defense acquisition process, much remains to be done. For example, service contracts account for roughly 45 percent of the defense budget and were largely untouched in this bill. Additionally, the rapid and affordable acquisition of new technology remains a fundamental challenge. More can be done to ensure that DOD acquisition continues to improve.

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