Military Personnel:

The Navy Has Not Provided Adequate Justification For Its Decision to Invest in MCTFS

GAO-07-1139R: Published: Jul 25, 2007. Publicly Released: Jul 25, 2007.

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Brenda S. Farrell
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In June 2006, the Navy completed a feasibility assessment of both the Marine Corps Total Force System (MCTFS)--the Marine Corps' integrated personnel and payroll system--and the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System DIMHRS. Based on the results of this assessment, the Navy expressed a preference to deploy MCTFS instead of DIMHRS. In August 2006, the Defense Business Systems Management Committee (DBSMC) made a business decision to accept the Navy's plan to proceed with the development and implementation of MCTFS. However, the Department of Defense (DOD) had already committed to deploy DIMHRS to provide a joint, integrated, standardized military personnel and pay system across all military components. According to the department, as of September 2006, it had spent over $668 million on the program. The John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, Pub. L. No. 109-364, 324 (2006) directed the Secretary of the Navy to prepare a report about MCTFS, including (1) an analysis of alternatives to MCTFS, including a comparison between the costs of deploying and operating MCTFS within the Navy and the cost of including the Navy in DIMHRS; (2) a business case analysis of the costs and benefits to both the Navy and DOD of the alternatives to MCTFS considered in the first objective; and (3) an analysis of the compatibility of MCTFS with the department's business enterprise architecture. The Navy concluded in its report--which we received on April 25, 2007--that (1) either MCTFS or DIMHRS could provide basic personnel and pay capability for the Navy uniformed force at approximately equivalent cost; (2) the DIMHRS alternative has substantially higher risks on cost, schedule, and function because MCTFS is already operational; and (3) MCTFS is fully compatible and compliant with the department's business enterprise architecture. The Act directs the DBSMC to determine--not sooner than 120 days after April 25, 2007--whether the deployment of MCTFS by the Navy is in the best interest of DOD. The Act directed us to review the Navy's report and provide a written assessment to the congressional defense committees and the Chairman of the DBSMC within 90 days of our receipt of the Navy's report. Specifically, we determined whether the Navy in its congressionally mandated report has justified its decision to invest in MCTFS. As part of our review, we also determined whether the department's business enterprise architecture was sufficient to guide and constrain the acquisition of MCTFS.

In its report, the Navy has not adequately justified its decision to invest in MCTFS. Specifically, the analysis of alternatives and the business case analysis of both MCTFS and DIMHRS were unreliable, because the cost and benefit estimates used in these analyses were not sufficiently comprehensive, accurate, documented, or credible. The Navy's analysis shows that MCTFS is sufficiently compatible with DOD's evolving business enterprise architecture to allow the Navy to begin acquisition. However, we found that the architecture lacks sufficient content to be used effectively to guide and constrain the acquisition of MCTFS. DOD officials from the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Business Transformation Agency provided oral comments on the facts presented in this report and we have incorporated these comments as appropriate.

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