DOD logistics lacks leadership, panel finds

FALLS CHURCH, Va.—The Defense Department's logistics programs, which will account for roughly one-third of DOD's fiscal 2000 budget, needs stronger leadership to begin taking full advantage of the technology available in the commercial arena, according to a senior member of the Defense Science Board.

At present, DOD logistics programs are hampered by too many individual information systems that cannot exchange information, said Philip A. Odeen, co-chairman of the DSB's 1998 study on logistics, which was released to the Joint Chiefs of Staffin December.

The problem stems from the department's lack of centralized leadership, he said. "DOD lacks an overall vision as to what our overall logistics systems [should] be," said Odeen, speaking here at the Government Electronics and Information Technology Association's first DOD Services and Support Forecast conference.

According to Odeen, DOD needs to appoint a "systems architect" to lead the charge of reinventing the way the department carries out its logistics mission. In fact, in the DSB study "we found that every successful [commercial] company had a champion," he said.

Odeen also said DOD's current effort to field the Joint Total Asset Visibility system, which is designed to provide commanders with real-time information on military equipment as it moves across the world, is a step in the right direction, "but it's a Band-Aid approach." According to Odeen, JTAV "is not a fundamental rethinking of how to do business."

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