Defence Acquisition and Procurement: How (Not) to Buy Weapons

  • 1h 49m
  • Ron P. Smith
  • Cambridge University Press
  • 2022

The acquisition and procurement of major weapons systems is fraught with difficulties. They tend to be delivered late, over budget and unable to meet requirements. This Element provides an economic analysis of why this happens. Market structure, demand by the military and supply by the arms firms, shapes the conduct of the agents and generates the poor performance observed. The military are trying to counter an evolving threat, subject to a budget constraint, high R&D costs and new technologies. The interaction between a government made up of warring tribes and arms firms with considerable market and political power is further complicated by a set of what economists call 'principal-agent' problems, which are examined. While the poor performance has prompted many countries to propose reforms, the difficulty of the task and the institutional incentives faced by the actors mean that the reforms rarely solve the problem.

About the Author

Ron P. Smith, Birkbeck, University of London

In this Book

  • Introduction
  • Requirements—What Weapons Are Needed?
  • Price—What Will the Weapons Cost?
  • Sources—Where to Buy the Weapons?
  • Contracts—How to Buy the Weapons?
  • Buyer Organisation—What Are the Problems?
  • Externalities—Are There Spill-Overs?
  • Conclusion
  • References