Cohen says DOD IT reforms saving taxpayers billions
- By Dan Verton
- Feb 28, 1999
Demonstrating an unwavering commitment to reforming the Defense Department's business practices through information technology, Secretary of Defense William Cohen today said that the agency has saved billions of dollars by relying more on the private sector for IT products and services.
DOD's first electronic status report on reform initiatives, "Defense Reform: Partnering for Excellence," outlines the most recent progress of DOD's initiatives to reform and streamline its business processes through greater use of IT and private industry. The CD-ROM report is part of the Defense Reform Initiative, a program introduced in 1997 to make DOD business processes more efficient and to save money. The initiative includes, for example, greater use of electronic purchase cards, World Wide Web-based electronic malls, paperless contracting and outsourcing of government functions.
The DRI already has "fundamentally begun to reorient [DOD] missions...[and] mind-sets as well," Cohen said. "We want to turn [DOD] into a truly world-class supporter" of the men and women in uniform.
According to the report, the use of electronic purchase cards and competition for outsourcing government jobs with the private sector have increased significantly compared with past years. Today 86 percent of all purchases under $2,500 are made using purchase cards compared with 72 percent in fiscal 1998, the report said. Likewise, DOD has replaced its original plan for outsourcing 150,000 jobs by fiscal 2003 with a new plan that calls for the competition of 229,000 jobs by fiscal 2005, the report said.
DOD "is building an acquisition system...that provides 21st century technology [and is] competing more functions with the private sector than ever before," Cohen said. Savings from DOD's outsourcing initiative are expected to reach $11.2 billion by fiscal 2005, Cohen said.
Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre said the CD-ROM report—which DOD will distribute to thousands of senior officials, industry executives and members of Congress—is not just a video but a primary communications tool. "It's interactive [and] there's real data showing progress to date," Hamre said.
The interactive report is available online at DOD's Defense Reform Web site, www.defenselink.mil/dodreform.