Pentagon taking snail mail into the digital era

After a successful year-long pilot program, the Defense Department is implementing a digital mail service that cuts down on processing time and improves accountability. The new program is part of several DOD-wide efforts in business management reform.

Online delivery options for physical mail will affect roughly 27,000 DOD employees, according to a Federal News Radio report.

The Defense Post Office currently processes about 13,000 pieces of mail every day; the Digital Delivery Mail System (DDMS) cuts the time for manual processing by three hours, a DOD announcement noted.

The mail is automatically sorted, and images of each piece are scanned and entered into a central system. Employees can then log into a secure, web-based system that allows them to view their mail and determine what to do with it – deliver physically or digitally, discard or return to sender.

The electronic system improves accountability by creating a virtual paper trail; it also increases security.

“Automated tracking records and digital imaging of the incoming mail enhanced security protocols and has provided a clear picture of the volume and type of mail received daily at the Pentagon,” the DOD release, posted on the Correspondence Management Division’s website, stated.

According to DOD, the new system will increase speed, security, and productivity, improve continuity of operations and reduce costs over time.

A March 2012 Congressional report on defense business operations highlighted the program as one of its success stories as DOD endeavors to overhaul its business management systems and increase efficiencies.

“Even as the department strives to improve its internal processes, better rationalize its information technology investments and manage its risks, defense business systems are providing real and tangible benefits to its operations in an increasingly technological 21st century environment,” DOD Deputy Chief Management Officer Elizabeth McGrath wrote in the report’s introductory notes.

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