Data Management:

DOD Should Redirect Its Efforts To Automate Technical Data Repositories

IMTEC-86-7: Published: Mar 13, 1986. Publicly Released: May 23, 1986.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) certain aspects of the Department of Defense's (DOD) technical data repository automation efforts; and (2) how technology sharing between DOD and the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) relates to these automation efforts.

GAO found that: (1) the five DOD efforts have resulted in duplicative and nonstandard approaches to automating data repositories; (2) although the military departments each developed one or more economic analyses for technical data automation, these analyses were incomplete, outdated, or contained invalid assumptions; (3) the Army and Navy did not obtain the required procurement authority to buy computer hardware and software for automating their repositories; (4) although DOD and PTO have similar needs for storing large amounts of data, they did not consider joint studies or testing, which might have eliminated a duplication of effort; and (5) separate military efforts present high risks in achieving standardization and interoperability of technical data repositories. GAO also found that: (1) DOD did not use a centralized approach to planning, coordinating, and reviewing budgets to ensure effective and efficient automation of the technical data repositories; (2) DOD implemented a management strategy for achieving repository interoperability, but the strategy did not include the necessary oversight control; and (3) although DOD has provided general direction to defense agencies on standardizing repository automation, the services have not adequately implemented specific policies and, therefore, military departments have individually implemented nonstandard approaches in automating technical data repositories.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The House and Senate appropriations report, which relates to delayed funding, was not released. Since this recommendation was meant as an option for Congress pending DOD action, no time limit was, or should be, placed on it.

    Matter: Congress should delay any further funding of the technical data repository automation efforts until it receives the DOD evaluation. After reviewing the evaluation and determining appropriate funding levels, Congress should ensure that these funds are restricted to the centrally directed effort.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Navy and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) have combined projects. DOD has placed all projects under the CALS Program Office. Actions were completed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Logistics, in conjunction with the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), to expeditiously evaluate the appropriateness of continuing any or all of the current technical data repository automation efforts, considering the Secretary's goal of standardization and interoperability.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Navy and DLA have combined projects. DOD has placed all projects under the CALS Program Office.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Logistics to designate oversight responsibility to a central office within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) to manage and control any continuing efforts to automate military department and DLA repositories. This central office should have planning, coordination, budget review, and approval authority over the remaining military department and DLA repository automation efforts and should obtain delegations of procurement authority from the General Services Administration, as required by law.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD placed all project economic considerations under the CALS Program Office, thereby making this recommendation no longer applicable.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Logistics to require the responsible office within OSD to identify and consolidate military department and DLA requirements for the automation of the technical data repositories, and develop a related DOD-wide economic analysis. These efforts should be performed regardless of the approach chosen as a result of the Secretary's evaluation and congressional actions, and should be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Mission Analysis/Project Initiation phase of the Automated Information System Life Cycle.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Navy and DLA combined projects were reviewed by the Major Automated Information System Review Council during July 1987.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) to conduct a Major Automated Information Systems Approval Process review for the automation of DOD technical data repositories. This review, at a minimum, should include the life-cycle management documentation and decision papers prepared for the automation of all DOD repositories.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Commerce is coordinating plans with various DOD agencies.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense and the Commissioner, PTO, should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Logistics and the Administrator, PTO, for automatic data processing, to formally coordinate and, when appropriate, perform joint studies, including testing, of optical-disk storage devices.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce: Patent and Trademark Office

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Commerce is taking action to coordinate an optical-disk storage device.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense and the Commissioner, PTO, should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Logistics and the Administrator, PTO, for automatic data processing, to formally coordinate and, when appropriate, perform joint studies, including testing, of optical-disk storage devices.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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