GAO: Army lacks plans for asset visibility

Report on Army asset visibility

The Army’s planned $5 billion investment in systems to improve the visibility of its assets could be in vain because the service lacks an overarching strategy for achieving that goal, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

Army officials hope the General Fund Enterprise Business System, the Global Combat Support System-Army and the Logistics Modernization Program will help achieve what Pentagon officials call total asset visibility.

However, GAO found the Army has no enterprise architecture or concept of operations to ensure the three programs work together toward achieving total asset visibility. “If the Army continues on its current path, it runs the risk of investing significant resources to simply automate its existing inefficient business processes using more current technology,” GAO auditors stated in their July 27 report.

To that end, auditors recommend that Defense Secretary Robert Gates direct the Army secretary and the director of the Business Transformation Agency to jointly develop a concept of operations for improving asset visibility. The Army, in its response to a June 6 draft of the GAO report, concurred with that recommendation.

Paul Brinkley, deputy Undersecretary of Defense for business transformation, in his comments on the draft report, said he also concurs with GAO’s recommendation. However, Brinkley added that his agency has no authority to tell the Army how to run its programs.

Complete visibility of the service’s inventory of equipment, supplies, real property and other assets is considered crucial for improving financial management and logistics processes.

DOD’s overall inventory of equipment, supplies, real property and other assets is worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Efforts to capture these assets accurately in information systems have proven elusive in past years.

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