The Defense Integrated Data System:

Is It Efficient and Effective?

LCD-77-117: Published: Dec 20, 1977. Publicly Released: Dec 20, 1977.

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In May 1965, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) began developing the Defense Integrated Data System which was expected to provide for future workload growth by consolidating various logistics subsystems into one integrated data bank. DLA has consolidated the various subsystems into one integrated data bank, centralized the processing and storage of catalog management data to provide uniform control over its accuracy, provided a limited capability for immediate and remote access, generally improved the quality and quantity of information available to customers, and eliminated some duplicative files and publications.

Since the system was declared operational in March 1975, the agency has had problems achieving all its processing goals. Particular problems affected the item identification function, ability to process current workload, elimination of local duplicative files, centralization of publications, and exchange of some data with other logistics systems. Stringent management control might have headed off the agency's problems. Shortcomings in project management permitted the development of an inadequately sized system based on understated workload projections and permitted the preparation of an overoptimistic economic analysis justifying development of the system, and permitted the premature operation of the system before all major functions were completely implemented and tested and before errors were corrected. To cope with these problems, new hardware was added, and software was refined to augment the original system. This augmentation did not provide the processing capability required to meet demands. There is valid need for this system, but the processing problems have resulted from inadequate system sizing and premature operations.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on what the agency did in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Assistant Secretary (Manpower, Reserve Affairs and Logistics) to: establish project accountability for the operation and continued development of the Defense Integrated Data System; have a steering committee study the current and projected user requirements for the system; have the steering committee reevaluate the system's major alternatives and determine what modifications are necessary; require the steering committee to use an updated economic analysis as the basis for cost control purposes; require formal management agreements between DLA and the services and agencies to provide improved management control over operations, database integrity, and the exchange of data between systems; and have the steering committee take firm measures to eliminate all unnecessary duplicate databases and operations regardless of which service or agency develops, maintains, or uses them.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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