DOD agencies undo standardization

Defense organizations and military departments have undone some of the information technology standardization of the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System (DCPDS), according to a Defense Department Inspector General's report.

The report says DOD was able to achieve a level of standardization by eliminating some legacy human resource systems and consolidating others when the DCPDS was put in place between late 1999 and September 2002. However, since then, several departments, the National Guard Bureau and other agencies have added or planned to add nonstandard applications to support their own business processes.

To date, according to the investigation, more than 50 nonstandard applications have been added by various regional commands, with the Air Force being the worst offender.

The DCPDS provides human resources services to 22 regional service centers, 302 customer support units and about 730,000 civilian employees.

The report says DOD needs to issue a policy that outlines the role of the system and that the system's users should be involved in its improvement through a user survey.

"Some of the nonstandard applications were developed as workarounds and software patches were needed because DCPDS was deployed before it could efficiently perform all the functions specified in its operational requirements document," the report read.

Ginger Groeber, the deputy undersecretary of Defense for civilian personnel policy, disagreed with the IG's finding, saying the system was "operationally suitable" when it was brought online last year.

"We disagree with the assertion that DCPDS was deployed before it was functional," she wrote. "In fact, the independent qualification operational testing and evaluation report, dated March 2000, prepared by the Air Force Test and Evaluation Command, concluded the system was operationally suitable and advised that further deployment was warranted."

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