DOD asks for second opinions on its business transition plan

HERSHEY, Pa.—Having delivered its plan to Congress on time, the Defense Department now wants industry’s opinion of its design for transitioning business systems to its new architecture.

Paul A. Brinkley, deputy Defense undersecretary for business transformation, asked an audience of more than 700 federal and vendor executives to download Version 3.0 of the architecture and the transition strategy and submit comments on it.

“We need to learn the lessons you have accumulated,” he said during the opening keynote of the Executive Leadership Conference 2005 sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council and the American Council for Technology. “The plan and architecture articulates to the taxpayer and to our own internal constituency in clear, layman’s terms how we are investing in technology to benefit the warfighting mission of the department.”

Lawmakers required Defense to submit the transition plan and architecture through a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2005. Starting Oct. 1, senior Defense leaders could be held in violation of Title 31 of the Antideficiency Act and face jail time and fines if they fail to review all business projects worth more than $1 million to make sure agency initiatives are aligned with the BEA.

The plan included details about how DOD spends more than $4.2 billion on some 4,700 business systems across five key mission areas, including databases that handle accounting, logistics and personnel functions, Brinkley said.

“Much of that is within the military departments and defense agencies,” he said. “The report creates a baseline against which the department’s progress can be measured and against which you can form judgments.”

In addition to turning in the transition plan and EA, DOD earlier this month established the Business Transformation Agency to centrally manage 18 of its largest departmentwide business programs. BTA also will oversee and provide guidance to more than 4,000 business systems managed by the services or Defense agencies.

Thomas Modly, the deputy undersecretary of Defense for financial management, said the architecture is a lot different than what DOD had done in the past with the Business Management Modernization Program.

Modly said the EA is focused on systems at a “high level and on standards.”

“Now DOD components must show how they interoperate within that environment and with those standards,” he said. “The transition plan is a huge accomplishment for us. It works across all services and all of the Defense Department and got the full buy-in from everyone.”

In other ELC news, IAC and ACT handed out its annual awards. These included:

IAC Chairman’s Award: Sara DeCarlo of Ninth House Inc. of San Francisco for her work on the IT Exchange Program.

Government Contributor of the Year: Scott Hastings of the Homeland Security Department for his work on ACT’s board of directors as vice president of marketing and communications.

Industry Contributors of the Year: Tricia Iveson of SI International Inc. of Reston, Va., for her work on the E-Government shared-interest group and Anne Altman of IBM Corp. for her long-time dedication to shared-interest groups.

Rookie of the Year: Sharon Payne of SPSS Inc. of Chicago for her work on the Emerging Technology shared-interest group.

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