DOD Business Systems Modernization:

Important Progress Made to Develop Business Enterprise Architecture, but Much Work Remains

GAO-03-1018: Published: Sep 19, 2003. Publicly Released: Sep 19, 2003.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

McCoy Williams
(202) 512-9505
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 directed the Department of Defense (DOD) to develop an enterprise architecture and a transition plan that meets certain requirements. The act also directed DOD to have a process for controlling its system investments. As required by the act, GAO assessed DOD's actions to comply with the act's requirements and recently issued a report to congressional defense committees. This report provides further details of GAO's assessment results regarding (1) the extent to which DOD's actions complied with the requirements of the act and (2) DOD's plans for further development and implementation of its architecture.

DOD has expended tremendous effort and resources and made important progress in complying with the act's requirements aimed at developing and effectively implementing a well-defined business enterprise architecture. Further, DOD's initial version of its architecture provides a foundation from which to build and ultimately produce a well-defined architecture. For example, the "As Is" environment includes an inventory of about 2,300 existing systems and their characteristics that support DOD's current business operations; and the "To Be" environment addresses, to at least some degree, how DOD intends to operate in the future, what information will be needed to support these future operations, and what technology standards should govern the design of future systems. Further, DOD has established some of the architecture management capabilities advocated by best practices and federal guidance, such as having a program office, designating a chief architect, and using an architecture development methodology and automated tool. At the same time, DOD's initial architecture does not yet adequately address the act's requirements and other relevant architectural requirements governing the scope and content. For example, critical federal requirements governing the "To Be" architecture, such as federal accounting requirements for recording revenue, are not included in the initial architecture. Other items not included are descriptions of the current business operations in terms of entities and people who perform the functions, processes, and activities and the locations where these are performed; descriptions of the systems to be developed or acquired to support future business operations; and time frames for phasing out existing systems. Furthermore, DOD has not yet implemented an effective investment management process for selecting and controlling ongoing and planned business system investments. Until it does, DOD remains at risk of spending billions of dollars on duplicative, stove-piped, nonintegrated systems that do not optimize mission performance and accountability and, therefore, do not support the department's business transformation goals. Overall, our findings indicate that DOD has taken positive first steps, but much remains to be accomplished before DOD will have the kind of blueprint and associated investment controls to successfully modernize its business operations and supporting systems. According to program officials and the initial version of the transition plan, DOD intends to extend and evolve the architecture to include the missing scope and detail; however, it has not yet defined specific plans outlining how this will be accomplished.

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: The Secretary of Defense or his appropriate designee should define and implement an effective investment management process to proactively identify, control, and obtain DOD Comptroller review and approval of expenditures for new and ongoing business system investments exceeding $1 million while the architecture is being developed and after it is completed, and which includes clearly defined domain owners' roles and responsibilities for selecting and controlling ongoing and planned system investments.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to the fiscal year 2005 defense authorization act, on June 2, 2005, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics set forth guidance that is to be used in reviewing all business system investments at least annually and for certifying business system modernizations over $1 million, as required by the Fiscal Year 2005 National Defense Authorization Act. In its March 15, 2006, report to congressional defense committees, the department reported that the DBSMC had certified a total of 226 systems, which represents about $3.6 billion in modernization funding.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense or his appropriate designee should implement the core elements in our EA Framework for Assessing and Improving Enterprise Architecture Management that we identify in this report as not satisfied, including ensuring that minutes of the executive body charged with directing, overseeing, and approving the architecture are prepared and maintained.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Business Transformation Agency (BTA) has laregely addressed the 31 core elements in our Enterprise Architecture Management Maturity Framework in its corporate business enterprise architecture (BEA), which is the intended focus of the recommendation. For example, the BTA has established a chief architect that is responsible for developing and maintaining the corporate BEA, and the version 4.1 of the BEA largely provides a depiction of both the "As is" and "To Be" environments in terms of business performance, information/data, application/service, technology, and security.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense or his appropriate designee should update version 1.0 of the architecture to include the 340 Joint Financial Management Improvement Program requirements that our report identified as omitted or not fully addressed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) developed an initial business enterprise architecture in April 2003. This version of the architecture omitted many relevant requirements. Requirements are one of the key bases for determining the scope and content for enterprise architectures. Based on GAO's recommendation, DOD subsequently added or modified the 340 requirements in the updated architecture products. By updating the architecture to include these requirements, DOD has increased the opportunity to make better informed decisions in planning and implementing its business system improvement projects.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense or his appropriate designee should update version 1.0 of the architecture to include the 29 key elements governing the "As Is" architectural content that our report identified as not being fully satisfied.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Business Transformation Agency (BTA) has largely addressed these 29 key elements relative to its corporate BEA, which is the intended focus of the recommendation. For example, version 4.1 of the business enterprise architecture (BEA) contains enterprise-level "As Is" information to support business capability gap analyses. In addition, the architecture includes "As Is" information for five of the six business enterprise priorities and "As Is" information for enterprise systems, such as the Wide-area Workflow system.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense or his appropriate designee should update version 1.0 of the BEA to include the 30 key elements governing the "To Be" architectural content that our report identified as not being fully satisfied.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Business Transformation Agency (BTA) has largely addressed these 30 key elements relative to its corporate business enterprise architecture (BEA), which is the intended focus of the recommendation. For example, version 4.1 of the BEA identifies activities performed at each location/organization and indicates which organization(s) are or will be involved in each activity. Furthermore, it includes common business rules (e.g., "each request for commercial export of DOD technology must be processed with 30 days upon receipt of request from the Department of State or the Department of Commerce") to facilitate consistent implementation of the architecture.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense or his appropriate designee should update version 1.0 to ensure that "To Be" architecture artifacts are internally consistent, to include addressing the inconsistencies described in this report, as well as including user instructions or guidance for easier architecture navigation and use.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Version 3.1 of the architecture provides significant improvements with regard to navigation and use and addresses the internal consistency of the architecture artifacts that we previously described.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense or his appropriate designee should update version 1.0 of the architecture to include (1) the three key elements governing the transition plan content that our report identified as not being fully satisfied and (2) those system investments that will not become part of the "To Be" architecture, including time frames for phasing out those systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Business Transformation Agency (BTA) has largely addressed this recommendation for its corporate or enterprise transition plan, which is the intended focus of the recommendation. For example, the latest version of the transition plan now documents how business enterprise architecture (BEA) elements (e.g., specific business capability improvements) provide solutions to significant DOD issues or business capability gaps (e.g., mission needs, material weaknesses). It also provides performance information of DOD transformation at both the enterprise level and component level, including performance metrics and milestones.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense or his appropriate designee should update version 1.0 of the architecture to address comments made by the verification and validation contractor.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The verification and validation contractor reports that all of these comments on versions 3.0 and prior versions have been addressed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense or his appropriate designee should develop a well-defined near-term plan for extending and evolving the architecture and ensure that this plan includes addressing our recommendations, defining roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved in extending and evolving the architecture, explaining dependencies among planned activities, and defining measures of activity progress.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: The Business Transformation Agency (BTA) has developed several documents that are intended to begin addressing this recommendation. For example, it has developed the Business Transformation Guidance, which describes the high-level process by which incremental improvements are identified and eventually incorporated into the business enterprise architecture (BEA). In addition, BTA officials told us that they are developing a BEA Concept of Operations, which is to describe high-level milestones required to address the BEA's use, such as investment management, strategic decision making, oversight, system implementation, software development, and business case development. However, the department has yet to develop an architecture program management plan that we have recommended. This recommendation has been subsumed by a later recommendation in GAO-06-658. As of August 31, 2009, the related recommendation in GAO-06-658 is still open.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense or his appropriate designee should limit the pilot projects to small, low-cost, low-risk prototype investments that are intended to provide knowledge needed to extend and evolve the architecture, and are not to acquire and implement production version system solutions or to deploy an operational system capability.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2009, DOD has not implemented specific guidance on the use of pilot projects. In its March 2008 Congressional Report to Congress, DOD reported that it continues to clarify the role of pilot programs and that progress has been made on a Business Mission Area pilot project policy consistent with the department's federation strategy, but this process has not been finalized.

    Jun 10, 2014

    May 22, 2014

    May 12, 2014

    May 8, 2014

    May 7, 2014

    Apr 2, 2014

    Feb 26, 2014

    Feb 12, 2014

    Looking for more? Browse all our products here