DOD business architecture praised

"Summary of GAO's Assessment of the Department of Defense's Initial Business Enterprise Architecture"

The Defense Department has taken a "positive first step" in developing its business management architecture, which was unveiled in late April, according to a General Accounting Office summary report.

However, the report noted that much remains to be done before DOD will have the kind of blueprint necessary to modernize its thousands of business systems.

The business management enterprise architecture, formerly the financial management enterprise architecture, is an ambitious undertaking designed to consolidate and standardize all of DOD's financial reporting systems. It was completed in April; just one year after the contract was awarded.

The project is designed to help the department obtain a clean financial audit, which is something it has been unable to do thus far.

GAO must submit to Congress an assessment of the actions DOD has taken to comply with the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2003 within 60 days of the department's approving the architecture. The summary report will be followed by a more in-depth report, to be released later this summer.

In its summary, the office commended DOD for completing the architecture so quickly, and said that a tremendous amount of effort was expended to make the architecture — a roadmap for developing and defining business processes — a reality.

"However, the initial version [of the architecture] does not adequately address the act's requirements and other relevant architectural requirements," the report said.

DOD chief financial officer Dov Zakheim agreed that the architecture still has some distance to travel before it is complete, but argued that the amount of work done in such a short time should over shadow any initial gaps left in the architecture.

"The department is proud of the initial version of the [business enterprise architecture] and transition plan, which were delivered on time and under budget," Zakheim wrote in his response to the summary report. "However, we agree that much work needs to be done. The department's architecture is the largest, most complex and most pervasive business enterprise architecture developed to date, either in the public or private sectors."

Zakheim said he would respond further when GAO releases its detailed report.

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