Pentagon taking snail mail into the digital era

After a successful year-long pilot program, the Defense Department is implementing a digital mail service that cuts down on processing time and improves accountability. The new program is part of several DOD-wide efforts in business management reform.

Online delivery options for physical mail will affect roughly 27,000 DOD employees, according to a Federal News Radio report.

The Defense Post Office currently processes about 13,000 pieces of mail every day; the Digital Delivery Mail System (DDMS) cuts the time for manual processing by three hours, a DOD announcement noted.

The mail is automatically sorted, and images of each piece are scanned and entered into a central system. Employees can then log into a secure, web-based system that allows them to view their mail and determine what to do with it – deliver physically or digitally, discard or return to sender.

The electronic system improves accountability by creating a virtual paper trail; it also increases security.

“Automated tracking records and digital imaging of the incoming mail enhanced security protocols and has provided a clear picture of the volume and type of mail received daily at the Pentagon,” the DOD release, posted on the Correspondence Management Division’s website, stated.

According to DOD, the new system will increase speed, security, and productivity, improve continuity of operations and reduce costs over time.

A March 2012 Congressional report on defense business operations highlighted the program as one of its success stories as DOD endeavors to overhaul its business management systems and increase efficiencies.

“Even as the department strives to improve its internal processes, better rationalize its information technology investments and manage its risks, defense business systems are providing real and tangible benefits to its operations in an increasingly technological 21st century environment,” DOD Deputy Chief Management Officer Elizabeth McGrath wrote in the report’s introductory notes.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group