DOD finance systems ripped

"Information Technology: Architecture Needed to Guide Modernization of DOD's Financial Operations"

The Defense Department is risking billions of dollars as it fixes its financial management systems because the department lacks an adequate information technology architecture to direct its efforts.

Without this kind of "blueprint" to guide DOD investments, the military services and Defense agencies will continue to find themselves operating unique and nonstandard financial processes and systems, the General Accounting Office said in a report issued May 18.

An IT architecture, much like the drawings used for building a house, details an organization's current systems, its plans for future systems and the standards that govern how systems interact.

DOD "does not currently have the management structures and processes in place to effectively develop, implement and maintain one," GAO officials said.

The report stated that as DOD "continues down this road," it risks spending billions of dollars modifying and modernizing existing financial management systems that will continue to run independently of one another.

GAO praised some of DOD's efforts, including the development of a Financial Management Improvement Plan, seen as the department's vision of its future financial management operations.

Those efforts, however, fall short of a full financial management IT architecture, GAO said. Rather, DOD should use those efforts as part of a more detailed architecture.

In a response in the report, DOD Deputy Comptroller Bruce Dauer noted that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has appointed independent teams to study critical aspects of DOD's operations — including financial management — and provide recommendations.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine,, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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