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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Progress cited on 'marathon' Defense business systems upgrade

The Pentagon is making progress on an effort to modernize its massive and complex business systems, but work remains to hammer out details, according to two new Government Accountability Office reports.

One report (GAO-07-538), published Friday, stated that the Defense Department has established the management structures needed to effectively control its business system investments. But officials have yet to fully develop related policies and procedures, the report said.

The second report (GAO-07-733), released Monday, praised Defense for taking steps to comply with fiscal 2005 National Defense Authorization Act provisions. But officials left investments in some Defense agencies out of a plan outlining milestones for the business program, among other deficiencies, the report stated.

The business systems in question help to manage about $1.4 trillion in assets, a $581 billion annual budget and 2.9 million personnel. GAO designated the modernization as a high-risk area in 1995. From 2001 to 2005, the department failed to follow a 2001 recommendation that it adopt a corporate approach to investment decisions. Since then, the Pentagon has made progress, according to GAO.

-David Pulliam, GovExec.com

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