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Army Corporate Data Base Disregards Congressional and DOD Direction

IMTEC-90-64: Published: Jul 19, 1990. Publicly Released: Aug 20, 1990.

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Samuel W. Bowlin
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of the Army's effort to develop a corporate database.

GAO found that: (1) eight Army information system development initiatives are pursuing the objectives of the cancelled Corporate Database Project; (2) the initiatives at the major command and installation levels primarily involve the development of standard databases; (3) the Army's management of the initiatives lacks a coordinated implementation plan and guidance; (4) the Army is not sure that the initiatives will work and will not duplicate others; (5) the Army is not sure that the initiatives will be able to exchange data useful to Army decisionmakers, because it has not fully implemented its data standardization program; (6) organizations controlling seven of the eight initiatives did not comply with economic analysis and determination requirements prior to system development; (7) the Army does not know whether the most economical approach has been selected for the seven initiatives or the cost for initiative development; and (8) the Army did not know how much had been spent on the initiatives because the organizations controlling them did not fully track costs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) has tasked the Army to review the eight initiatives and issue a report on their compliance with DOD policies by late 1991. The Army wrote a report and issued it in November 1991 and submitted it to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to suspend development activity on the eight initiatives GAO identified, and not to resume any of them unless all required federal and defense acquisition requirements are met. This would include preparing mission needs statements and requirements and economic analyses.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD plans to monitor Army efforts through the quarterly reporting process to ensure that the management direction established for data-base initiatives is effective in solving the problems GAO identified.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to prohibit funding for any other initiative, the purpose of which is to achieve a corporate database capability, until the Army adequately justifies to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Congress the mission need and potential economic benefit of an Army-wide corporate database.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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