Military Personnel:

DFAS Has Not Met All Information Technology Requirements for Its New Pay System

GAO-04-149R: Published: Oct 20, 2003. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 2003.

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In early January 2003, we initiated a review of the Defense Integrated Military Human Resource System (DIMHRS) to get an understanding of the program, its goals, its present status, and the problems it is designed to resolve. During this review, we became aware that in April 2003 the Department of Defense (DOD) authorized the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) to initiate a pilot project to demonstrate its ability to develop an interim military pay system, called Forward Compatible Military Pay, before DIMHRS is fully operational. DFAS maintains that an interim system should be developed as soon as possible for two reasons: (1) the planned personnel and pay system that DOD is currently developing as part of the larger DIMHRS will be implemented later than its projected target date of December 2006 and (2) the current military pay system--the Defense Joint Military Pay System--is aging, unresponsive, and fragile and has become a major impediment to efficient and high quality customer service. It is estimated that the Forward Compatible Military Pay system could be operational by March 2006 at a design and development cost ranging from about $17 million to $30 million. Since the planned interim Forward Compatible Military Pay system is considered an information technology acquisition program under DOD Acquisition Regulations, DFAS must comply with specific legal and administrative requirements before moving forward with the development of this project. In this regard, DFAS must comply with requirements contained in the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Memorandum, and the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996.

In moving forward with the development of the Forward Compatible Military Pay system, DFAS has not complied with specific legal and administrative requirements applicable to DOD's information technology investments. It did complete cost and benefit, return on investment, and break-even point analyses as required by the Comptroller's memorandum. However, DFAS has not submitted the forward pay proposal to the responsible domain to determine its compliance with DOD's Business Enterprise Architecture, which guides DOD's investments in financial systems. Because DFAS has not submitted the proposal to the responsible domain, the DOD Comptroller has not met its responsibility under the authorization act to ensure compliance with the Business Enterprise Architecture. Further, DFAS has not completed the necessary documents to support compliance with the Clinger-Cohen Act. For example, DFAS has not completed the Acquisition Strategy or the Acquisition Program Baseline document, as required by DOD Acquisition Regulations. By failing to complete all required studies and analyses, DOD lacks assurance that it is meeting its goal of making quality information technology investments, as required. We are recommending that DFAS complete all required steps before proceeding with the Forward Compatible Military Pay project.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: To ensure that the proposed investment in the Forward Compatible Military Pay system is a prudent business decision for DOD, the Secretary of Defense should direct the DOD Comptroller to require DFAS to demonstrate that it has complied with its responsibilities under the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, Public Law 104-106.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DFAS completed the acquisition program life cycle documentation, specifically, the Clinger-Cohen Act Report, and submitted it to the DOD Chief Information Officer, who approved the report on Oct. 31, 2003.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the proposed investment in the Forward Compatible Military Pay system is a prudent business decision for DOD, the Secretary of Defense should direct the DOD Comptroller to meet its responsibility under the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003, Public Law 107-314, to determine compliance with the Business Enterprise Architecture.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On November 14, 2003, DFAS completed the Business Enterprise Architecture self assessment and the required Business Management Modernization Program documentation and submitted it to the domain owner, the Business Management Modernization Program, and the Business Management Integration Office. All concurred that the proposal was in compliance with the DOD Business Enterprise Architecture.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the proposed investment in the Forward Compatible Military Pay system is a prudent business decision for DOD, the Secretary of Defense should direct DFAS to submit its Forward Compatible Military Pay system proposal to the domain owner for determination that it is in compliance with DOD's Business Enterprise Architecture.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On November 14, 2003, DFAS completed the Business Enterprise Architecture self assessment and submitted it to the domain owner, the Business Management Modernization Program, and the Business Management Integration Office, and they concurred that the proposal was in compliance with the DOD Business Enterprise Architecture.

    Recommendation: The DOD Comptroller and DFAS should complete these steps before the final decision is made to invest in the Forward Compatible Military Pay system.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DFAS completed the required Business Enterprise Architecture and life cycle documentation and submitted it through the Business Management Modernization Program review process. The Forward Compatible Military Pay System was granted Milestone B approval by the DOD Comptroller on January 5, 2004. In so doing, DFAS met all the information technology requirements for the Forward Compatible Military Pay System.

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