DOD Business Systems Modernization:

Long-Standing Weaknesses in Enterprise Architecture Development Need to Be Addressed

GAO-05-702: Published: Jul 22, 2005. Publicly Released: Jul 22, 2005.

Additional Materials:


Randolph C. Hite
(202) 512-6256


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

The Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 directed the Department of Defense (DOD) to develop, by September 2005, a well-defined business enterprise architecture (BEA) and a transition plan. GAO has made numerous recommendations to assist the department in successfully doing so. As part of ongoing monitoring of the architecture, GAO assessed whether the department had (1) established an effective governance structure; (2) developed program plans, including supporting workforce plans; (3) performed effective configuration management; (4) developed well-defined BEA products; and (5) addressed GAO's other recommendations.

To effectively and efficiently modernize its nonintegrated and duplicative business operations and systems, it is essential for DOD to develop and use a well-defined BEA. However, it does not have such an architecture, and the products that it has produced do not provide sufficient content and utility to effectively guide and constrain ongoing and planned systems investments. As a result, despite spending almost 4 years and about $318 million, DOD does not have an effective architecture program. The current state of the program is due largely to long-standing architecture management weaknesses that GAO has made recommendations over the last 4 years to correct. In particular, DOD has not done the following: (1) established an effective governance structure, including an effective communications strategy, to achieve stakeholder buy-in. In particular, the structure that has been in place since 2001 lacks the requisite authority and accountability to be effective, and the key entities that made up this structure have not performed according to their respective charters; (2) developed program plans that explicitly identify measurable goals and outcomes to be achieved, nor has it defined the tasks to be performed to achieve the goals and outcomes, the resources needed to perform these tasks, or the time frames within which the tasks will be performed. DOD also has not assessed, as part of its program planning, the workforce capabilities that it needs in order to effectively manage its architecture efforts, nor does it have a strategy for doing so; (3) performed effective configuration management, which is a formal approach to controlling product parts to ensure their integrity. The configuration management plan and the charter for the configuration control board are draft; the board has limited authority; and, after 4 years of development, the department has not assigned a configuration manager; (4) developed a well-defined architecture. The latest versions of the architecture do not include products describing the "As Is" business and technology environments and a transition plan for investing in business systems. In addition, the versions that have been produced for the "To Be" environment have not had a clearly defined purpose and scope, are still missing important content, and contain products that are neither consistent nor integrated; and (5) fully addressed other GAO recommendations. DOD recognizes that these weaknesses need to be addressed and has recently assigned a new BEA leadership team. DOD also has either begun steps to or stated its intentions to (1) revise its governance structure; (2) develop a program baseline, by September 30, 2005, that will be used as a managerial and oversight tool to allocate resources, manage risks, and measure and report progress; and (3) revise the scope of the architecture and establish a new approach for developing it. However, much remains to be accomplished to establish an effective architecture program. Until it does, its business systems modernization effort will remain a high-risk program.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In its March 15, 2006, annual report to Congress, DOD disclosed the current state of the BEA program by including key milestones for fiscal years 2006 and 2007, accomplishments since September 2005, and limitations of, and gaps in, the architecture and transition plan. For example, in an effort to improve visibility into personnel activities, in fiscal year 2006, DOD reported that it has deployed a civilian personnel data warehouse to facilitate data sharing. In addition, the department reported that termination and migration dates had yet to be determined for a number of systems.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Secretary of Defense, as the chair of the Defense Business Systems Management Committee (DBSMC) and in collaboration with DBSMC members, to immediately fully disclose the state of its BEA program to DOD's congressional authorization and appropriations committees, including its limited progress and results to date, as well as specific plans and commitments for strengthening program management and producing measurable results that reflect the department's capability to do so.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Business Transformation Agency and business enterprise architecture (BEA) program documentation reflect activities and steps taken or planned to address our recommendations relative to BEA content and management. Furthermore, the department has stated its commitment to addressing our recommendations in its annual reports to the congressional defense committees.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Secretary of Defense, as the chair of the DBSMC and in collaboration with DBSMC members, to ensure that each of our recommendations related to the BEA management and content are reflected in the above plans and commitments.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On March 21, 2007, the BTA released its Human Capital Strategy document, which focuses on the workforce needs of the BTA and provides for putting in place the means by which to acquire, develop and maintain BTA's workforce. To augment the strategy, BTA subsequently released its human capital implementation plan, which includes the products/events, schedules, and status indicators associated with implementing the activities needed to identify and address gaps in workforce needs and capabilities. Going forward, the department intends to continue to revise and update the strategy and plans to provide for effective BEA workforce planning.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Secretary of Defense, as the chair of the DBSMC and in collaboration with DBSMC members, to ensure that plans and commitments provide for effective BEA workforce planning, including assessing workforce knowledge and skills needs, determining existing workforce capabilities, identifying gaps, and filling these gaps.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Aug 2, 2018

Jun 13, 2018

May 24, 2018

May 23, 2018

May 22, 2018

Mar 14, 2018

Jan 30, 2018

Jan 10, 2018

Nov 21, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here