Business Transformation Agency names first director

Editor's note: This story was updated at 10:15 a.m. Feb. 23, 2007. Please go to Corrections & Clarifications to see what has changed.

Two years after the creation of the Defense Department’s Business Transformation Agency, David Fisher has been named the agency’s first official director. Fisher will provide the continuity needed to shepherd BTA into the next administration, officials said today.

Until now, two political appointees, Paul Brinkley, deputy undersecretary of Defense for business transformation, and Tom Modly, deputy undersecretary of Defense for financial management, led BTA. But they both anticipate leaving their posts in early 2009. Fisher, a career member of the Senior Executive Service, will stay on, they said.

“One of our challenges is to create a nonpolitical organization,” Brinkley said, adding that it was impossible to complete modernization of DOD, the world’s largest business enterprise, in only four years.

In the next two years, the leaders will focus on maintaining momentum and placing BTA on a sustainable path, Brinkley said.

Fisher had been acting director of BTA since November 2006. Institutionalizing an enterprise perspective on business transformation and continuing the maturity of the young organization are his main goals, he said.

“The most important thing we need to do is execute on our commitments,” Fisher said. Fisher said he views his appointment as a continuation, not a change, in BTA’s maturation.

BTA has responsibilities for 26 DOD programs and is expanding into new areas such as fundamental business analysis, officials said. For example, BTA recently completed an assessment of the Defense Cooperation Security Agency, which manages sales of U.S. weapons to foreign militaries.

BTA will perform similar assessments of three other DOD agencies in the next 18 months. One will be the Defense Security Service, which will focus on the problems with processing security clearances.

The agency will also increase its involvement in enterprise resource planning, including the Navy’s ERP program, the Defense Logistics Agency’s Business Systems Modernization program and the Army’s General Fund Enterprise Business System.

BTA will help install an acquisition dashboard, known as the Defense Acquisition Management Information Retrieval program, to track program costs and progress.

The organization is also the Pentagon’s focal point for the new Investment Review Board process, which examines funds spent on information technology advancements.

In October 2006, BTA released its second Enterprise Transition Plan and Version 4.0 of its Business Enterprise Architecture. One of its major initiatives in 2007 is the implementation of the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System.

BTA is also active in Iraq, examining processes in reconstruction contracting and advising multinational corps on how to deal with Iraqi firms.

Before being named director, Fisher was Defense enterprise integration executive and director for transformation priorities and requirements at BTA. Prior to joining DOD, he was a managing director at BearingPoint in Palo Alto, Calif. Fisher holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Stanford University and an MBA from Santa Clara University.

In 2004, he published the book “Optimize Now (Or Else!): How to Leverage Processes and Information to Achieve Enterprise Optimization (and Avoid Enterprise Extinction).”

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