Financial systems overwhelm DOD

An audit of the Defense Department's financial systems has found at least 673 systems across the organization — and DOD is still counting, a senior DOD official said.

"We obviously have to get those 673 systems and the thousand plus systems that back them up down into a manageable size," the official said. The overwhelming number of systems "allows for too many errors," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

DOD received $100 million in the fiscal 2002 budget to create a financial systems architecture that would act as a blueprint for the development of any DOD financial management systems. The audit is an initial step toward establishing that architecture.

DOD officials said that the fiscal 2003 budget seeks an additional $100 million to continue those financial fixes.

DOD officials have stressed that the money spent building a financial architecture — something that has been a longtime recommendation of the General Accounting Office and the DOD inspector general — is small in comparison to DOD's $379 billion budget proposal.

GAO officials have said that DOD's financial mess is the largest obstacle keeping the federal government from getting auditable books.

The DOD official called the department's financial systems an "absolute disaster."

"This place has not been operating as it should be," the official said. "And that means taxpayers are losing money, and we're just going to do everything we can to prevent that from happening."

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 DorobekInsider.com, 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, FCW.com, 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 PlanetGov.com, 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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