DOD seeks projects to employ BPR funds

The Defense Department, in a new phase of its Corporate Information Management initiative, is soliciting proposals to take advantage of $37.7 million in matching funds set aside in the fiscal 1997 budget for business process re-engineering (BPR) projects.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) plans to have a group of projects reviewed and ready to go if the money is approved by Congress and becomes available in the new fiscal year.

The BPR Fund replaces the CIM Central Fund, which OSD has managed in years past to help finance key CIM projects. DOD has shifted most of the responsibility for CIM projects from OSD to the individual services, except in BPR.

DOD officials said the biggest need is "to look at [developing] better business processes," a DOD spokeswoman said. "It is very important to the department at the moment."

The request for proposals went out last month to key DOD offices and directorates in a memorandum from James E. Soos, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for command, control and communications.

OSD, which asked to receive all proposals by July 29, expects to publish the approved project list in late August.

Streamlining on the Horizon

OSD plans to streamline the process for carrying out the projects "to eliminate excessive review and duplication of information provided in project plans," according to the memo.

Although DOD has made some progress with a number of CIM initiatives, such as data standardization, BPR has generated the strongest grass-roots interest, DOD officials have said. OSD is likely to receive as much as $200 million in requests for matching funds, one agency official believes.

OSD has limited the scope of its BPR program primarily to activities involving project analysis, strategic planning, modeling and benchmarking. The program expressly excludes prototyping and implementation, research and routine management.

The department expects projects to support broad DOD guidance requirements "and functional-area strategic plans and goals," Soos said in the memo. Also, in many cases "projects proposed by one functional area or service may logically integrate with proj-ects from other functional areas," he said.

The available funds are allocated across 12 DOD offices or directorates, with about 26 percent earmarked for the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology. However, proposed projects can exceed that allocation, according to the memo.

"These projects would then be considered for any additional allocation that becomes available," Soos said.

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