DOD guns for green on scorecard

The Defense Department has yet to achieve the highest rating for success in any area on the President's Management Agenda scorecard, but that doesn't mean progress isn't being made, according to an official in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

The scorecard uses a red-yellow-green rating system to measure agencies' success on and progress toward the five areas in the agenda: strategic workforce management, expanded use of e-government, increased competitive bidding of government services, improved financial performance and linking performance to budgets.

Gail McGinn, deputy undersecretary of Defense for plans, said that DOD has achieved yellow status in workforce management and budget/performance integration in the latest annual results, which were released with the fiscal 2004 budget requests. Although the department is still red in the other areas of the annual scorecard, the most recent quarterly progress reports indicate positive momentum, she said.

Speaking at a Feb. 20 luncheon sponsored by the Association for Federal Information Resources Management in Washington, D.C., McGinn said DOD achieved the green level on the quarterly reports in all areas except for competitive bidding of government services, which received a yellow. The quarterly reports are a separate measure of progress toward satisfying the management goals.

DOD, with more than 226,000 positions eligible for competition with the private sector, achieved its target of competing 5 percent in fiscal 2002 and is on schedule to reach fiscal 2003's goal of 15 percent, said McGinn, who took on her position in November 2002 after serving in various OSD roles since 1988.

Federal labor unions and Capitol Hill lawmakers have expressed concerns about and opposition to the government's outsourcing plans, but DOD has no mandate to increase the percentage of vendors performing information technology jobs, McGinn said. Although the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) now employs more contractors than government employees, the public/private mix will vary based on the competitions within the military services and DOD agencies, she said.

In e-government, McGinn said she is hopeful DOD will soon move from red to yellow, based on the fact that the department has now submitted about 180 business cases for IT programs that represent $11 billion of the department's $26 billion total investment.

She added that DOD officials also believes that all of the department's major IT programs meet the criteria of being 90 percent within budget performance goals, and that the department is involved in one-third of the 24 cross-agency e-government initiatives.

Financial management is one area where DOD expects to receive red grades for the foreseeable future, considering that the department is attempting to consolidate about 1,800 disparate systems into one, she said.

However, the DOD Financial Management Modernization Program, which is working to develop a financial management enterprise architecture, is on schedule, and IBM Corp., the project's lead contractor, passed its first milestone last October and is on pace to make another deliverable in April, McGinn said.

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