Pentagon to outsource three medical help desks

Officials at the Defense Department's Military Health System believe they can save $30 million annually by outsourcing help desks at three medical sites, part of their initiative to bring together health providers at the military services.

MHS spends about $300 million each year to support its information technology systems, said Army Col. Carl Hendricks, MHS' program executive officer for IT. MHS officials must cut 10 percent by fiscal 2002, following a 1999 Defense Department directive, he said.

"We are trying to do more to control IT costs," Hendricks said. They would have eventually "absorbed all [system] development costs," he said. MHS has an overall $517 million IT budget for fiscal 2001, he said.

The Tri-Services Medical Systems Support Center at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, is the first help desk to go. MHS officials also are eliminating overlapping functions at the Naval Medical Information Management Center in Bethesda, Md., and the Army Medical Information System Support Activity at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The latter two sites have 86 people working in program IT, Hendricks said.

"We've been losing people every day," said Air Force Lt. Col. Don Perro, the program manager at the Brooks support center. He cited help-desk calls that total 5,200 a month.

Health system users are worried "about future support" after the Brooks help desk closes, something that could occur by September, Perro said. The fee-for-service organization has 73 workers, he said.

Featured

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    OPM nominee plans focus on telework, IT, retirement

    Kiran Ahuja, a veteran of the Office of Personnel Management, told lawmakers that she thinks that the lack of consistent leadership in the top position at OPM has taken a toll on the ability of the agency to complete longer term IT modernization projects.

  • Defense
    Soldiers from the Old Guard test the second iteration of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) capability set during an exercise at Fort Belvoir, VA in Fall 2019. Photo by Courtney Bacon

    IVAS and the future of defense acquisition

    The Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System has been in the works for years, but the potentially multibillion deal could mark a paradigm shift in how the Defense Department buys and leverages technology.

Stay Connected