SPS works fixes amid tight funds

The Defense Department has allowed work to resume on a departmentwide electronic procurement system one year after development was halted and nearly three years after the program's original deadline.

The Standard Procurement System (SPS), which has been resoundingly criticized for being over budget and off schedule, has "turned around" and officials have "learned from the ills of the past," said Army Col. Jake Haynes, program director for the Defense Contract Management Agency's SPS program office.

SPS, which American Management Systems Inc. is developing, is intended to replace 76 legacy procurement systems with one system that would give agency managers greater access to contract data.

AMS has released several versions of the system, which has been deployed to approximately 23,000 users.

DOD officials halted the development of future releases of SPS last February to perfect the system.

A re-evaluation of the program, its management and leadership led to a number of changes that allowed SPS development to get started again. The latest version of the SPS software is expected to roll out within weeks, adding further functionality to the system.

Haynes said the system seems to be back on schedule and on budget, although he would not specify a new program schedule.

Despite those improvements, SPS is still under a budget squeeze. The Bush administration's fiscal 2004 budget proposal requests $20.4 million for SPS, a decrease from the $25.2 million the program received in fiscal 2003 and the $39.2 million it got in fiscal 2002.

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