we all have our nightmare stories -- beltway bandits who schmooze the gov into lucrative contracts then don't deliver, contractors who hire retired gov. big shots so they can procure contracts, projects that run over budget and still charge the government. it goes on and on.
here is an idea specific for software projects. what about an independent government group whose sole purpose is to have 100% control over paying contractors and 100% control over testing the systems. if the products do not pass testing, if they do not work, if they do not satisfy requirements, no one gets paid a dime. if a deliverable is late the contractor does not get paid and if they abandon the project they are banned from future contracts (not by name, but by affiliation with EIN, to avoid name change trickery)
If we are really concerned about overspending, debt ceilings, etc. then this is the type of thing we need to do. and there is no need to try to do it all at once. create the agency, let it go to work on a few contracts, evolve, improve, and let it grow from there. after all, the payoff will come with the very first gov. contract, because as we all know, every single beltway bandit's sole purpose is profit, not public service, and 90% of them view the government sector as a virtual fountain of easy money. we may be hemorrhaging tax dollars, but even the smallest tourniquet assuages the bleeding