Key Issues > DOD Business Systems Modernization - High Risk Issue
information management icon, source: GAO

DOD Business Systems Modernization - High Risk Issue

The Department of Defense (DOD) spends billions of dollars each year to acquire modern systems to achieve its business transformation goals, but has not fully defined and established a family of business system modernization management controls. These controls are vital to ensuring that DOD can effectively and efficiently manage an undertaking with the size, complexity, and significance of its business systems modernization, and minimize the associated risks.

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For decades, DOD has been attempting to modernize about 2,100 business systems, which are supported by billions of dollars in annual expenditures that are intended to support business functions and operations. DOD Business Systems Modernization is on our High Risk List. Recommendations aimed at strengthening DOD’s institutional approach to modernization and reducing the risks associated with key investments include

  • ensuring that DOD follows best practices when acquiring information technology (IT) systems and services,
  • establishing effective investment management controls to guide and constrain DOD’s multi-billion dollar business systems environment, and
  • developing and using a business enterprise architecture (BEA) modernization blueprint.

DOD has made progress implementing key institutional modernization management controls; however, more needs to be done. For specific programs, DOD needs to

  • ensure that the thousands of DOD business system modernization and IT programs and projects employ program management rigor and discipline, including practices such as: economically justifying investments on the basis of reliable estimates of future costs and benefits, and
  • effectively conducting key acquisition functions, including requirements and  risk management.

At the institutional level, DOD needs to

  • evolve its corporate and component business system investment management processes and institutionalize these processes at all levels of the organization; and
  • extend (federate) its corporate business enterprise architecture to its component organizations.
Looking for our recommendations? Click on any report to find each associated recommendation and its current implementation status.

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    • Carol C. Harris
    • Director, Information Technology Acquisition Management Issues
    • (202) 512-4456