Army looking to outsource

Army Secretary Thomas White said the service cannot truly transform unless its business processes are part of the plan. Therefore, he said the Army will "privatize every non-core function" that it can develop a good business case for — including information technology and communications positions.

The Army already has begun the outsourcing process for work on its family housing units — some of which are in decrepit condition — and will spend $700 million to privatize that area in fiscal 2003, with work to be completed by 2007, White said. He added that any non-core IT and communications functions also could be outsourced.

"We're already doing that business with [the Defense Information Systems Agency], where roughly 85 percent of the work is outsourced," White told Federal Computer Week immediately following an Oct. 3 luncheon speech sponsored by the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.

The decision to privatize any IT or communications areas would be made by the Army's new Network Enterprise Technology Command (Netcom), White told FCW, but "anytime we can take a non-core function and get a value proposition for it, we'll do it."

Netcom, which officially launched Oct. 1, was created to manage the Army's IT and networks enterprisewide.

Most of White's speech focused on the Army's ongoing transformation and transition to the Objective Force, which will transform the service's forces to make them better able to survive an all-out fight.

Employing a popular business term, White said the quality of the Army's personnel is the key to maintaining a "sustainable competitive advantage" as the world's premier Army. "And whether we leverage that with technology is really the challenge of transformation," he said.

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