Army updating 'the way we do business'

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If successful, the Army's nearly completed demonstration of the Single Stock

Fund, an effort to revolutionize Army logistics, will clear the way for

Army-wide implementation beginning in October.

The Single Stock Fund initiative requires a massive re-engineering of software.

It is designed to merge the Army's wholesale and retail inventory management

and associated financial accounting practices under a single manager. Therefore,

systems used for wholesale logistics, for example, must be reconfigured

to accept data from retail logistics systems.

Army officials said the result will be reduced operating costs and the ability

to view and manage supplies better.

"This is a re-engineering of the way we do business, but it's not a modernization

of systems," said Martin Wolfe, chief of the Business Systems Directorate

of the Communications-Electronics Command's Software Engineering Institute.

"We're using the same legacy systems but modifying them for a totally new

way of doing business. We're taking the data from existing systems and putting

it into the appropriate new format to allow us to integrate both the wholesale

and retail processes into one."

The Army's current logistics system has several limitations, including:

* Outmoded technology and stovepiped systems, meaning systems are designed

to suit a limited set of needs without sharing data with other systems.

* Confusing descriptions of logistics warfighting systems and processes.

* Resources focused on short-term solutions.

Changes to several systems are involved, including the Commodity Command

Standard System and the Army Materiel Command Installation Supply System.

Re-engineering the Commodity Command Standard System will cost more than

$20 million, while changes made to the Army Materiel Command Installation

Supply System will cost $500,000 this year alone.

"There is a tremendous amount of [software re-engineering] changes. There

are about 150 engineering change proposals," Wolfe said. "Commodity Command

Standard System alone has millions of lines of code."

With all but about a dozen of the changes now complete, the service is also

on the verge of completing a demonstration of the re-engineered systems

and processes at three installations: Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Lewis, Wash.;

and Redstone Arsenal, Ala. If the demonstration goes well, the Army will

begin to implement the re-engineered process in October, slowly expanding

to include the rest of the Army in 2002.

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