The Army Handgun: A New Poster Child for Acquisition Malpractice? By Jill Aitoro, Defense News
A handgun is not an aircraft carrier.
I respect the intricacy and complexity of the features in a military pistol. And I have no position on the one from Sig Sauer that was chosen or how it stacks up against other contenders. But the Army’s search for a new service pistol officially began in 2011 — long before that if you include the years when concerns with the existing M9 Beretta first emerged. More than a decade by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain's own estimates.
The system is broken.
Consider what went down in the handgun buy: There were a couple years of information-gathering industry days. There was a draft solicitation that noted an expected date for a final bid request, but that got pushed back and yet another industry day was scheduled. And there was Beretta, the incumbent, which pushed back on the planned replacement, then formally proposed altering the existing contract, so it could provide a different model that would address the concerns for less money. That, of course, was something government had to consider. More time.
So, what the market got in return for supposed due diligence was delays, often with an explanation that read something like this: “to allow for improvements to the RFP as a result of feedback received from Industry.”
And Army soldiers continued to wait…