DLA modernization criticized

GAO report: DLA Should Strengthen Business Systems Modernization Architecture and Investment Activities

Less than a year after the Defense Logistics Agency awarded a $389 million enterprise resource planning contract, the General Accounting Office has taken DLA officials to task for not developing an enterprise architecture for it.

In the report, "DLA Should Strengthen Business Systems Modernization Architecture and Investment Activities," GAO also criticized the agency for focusing too exclusively on the materiel management aspect of the developing system.

Randolph Hite, director of information technology systems issues at GAO, wrote in the report issued last month that DLA's plans to create "an architecture as a byproduct" of its Business Systems Modernization (BSM) program goes against Office of Management and Budget guidance, Defense Department policy and the law.

DLA negotiated a blanket purchase agreement with Andersen Consulting — now known as Accenture—in August 2000 to modernize its business systems. Accenture replaced two mainframe systems and other minor ones with a new system based on SAP America Inc. products. Commanders can now review available DLA supplies via the World Wide Web.

DLA's architecture plans focus exclusively on materiel management, the first of six major business areas that the modernization effort will cover. Because of that, the program might improve that one business area but not enhance DLA's overall "logistics management performance and accountability," Hite wrote.

He also criticized DOD for not developing a departmentwide logistics management enterprise architecture to promote interoperability and avoid duplication among the efforts already under way in DOD organizations.

Responding to FCW questions, David Falvey, BSM program manager at DLA, said the agency's approach would reduce deployment time, and it "allows the benefits of a new business architecture to be realized in the near term."

In his response to GAO's report, Allen Beckett, acting deputy undersecretary of Defense for logistics and materiel readiness, wrote, "We cannot stop modernizing systems in order to develop an "end to end' architecture, and we believe the risk to the BSM program that GAO attributes to a lack of an enterprise architecture is overstated."

But Beckett concurred with Hite's criticism that DLA is treating the $900 million BSM program as a single investment decision and wrote that DLA will "prepare a business case to support each of four scheduled releases."

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