Acquisition History

The acquisition of major weapon systems consumes a large share of the defense budget and receives extraordinary attention from lawmakers and the public. Although numerous studies have looked in depth at particular weapons programs, the multivolume series—History of Acquisition in the Department of Defense—is the first to provide an overarching account of defense acquisition from 1945 to the end of the 20th century.

The purpose of the defense acquisition history series is to document changes in acquisition policies, organizations, and processes, and to capture in one place the triumphs, failures, and lessons learned of major weapons programs since World War II. The five planned volumes of the series are organized chronologically, with individual chapters in each volume addressing the roles of OSD, the Army, Navy, and Air Force in the acquisition process, and thematic chapters covering critical topics, such as the defense industry, the acquisition workforce, contracting methods, and acquisition reform. The histories of individual weapons programs are interspersed throughout the volumes.

The Defense Acquisition History Project is an ongoing effort of the OSD Historical Office to complete the acquisition history series and to generate additional historical resources for the acquisition community. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics) and the historical programs of each of the military services, most notably the U.S. Army Center of Military History, have provided support for the project. Publications and a variety of historical resources, including oral history interviews, key documents, and working papers, will be posted on this web page as they are completed.