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Room for Improvement: The Defense Department is missing key information needed to "analyze, manage, and reduce" operating and support costs of major weapon systems, according to the Government Accountability Office. "At a time when the nation faces fiscal challenges and defense budgets may become tighter, the lack of this key information hinders sound weapon-system program management and decision-making in an area of high costs to the federal government," writes GAO in a newly issued report. The GAO analyzed seven aviation weapon systems, including the Air Force's F-22, B-1B, and F-15E, from June 2009 to July 2010. However, DOD could only provide o&s cost estimates for two of the seven systems, including the F-22. The omission of such data is not inconsequential. A case in point: when the Air Force updated its lifecycle cost estimate in 2009 for the F-22, it found a 47-percent ($19 billion) increase in o&s costs compared to the previous estimate in 2005, said GAO.