Defense ManagementElectronic Commerce Implementation Strategy Can Be Improved Gao ID: NSIAD-00-108 July 18, 2000
Through its Joint Electronic Commerce Program, the Defense Department (DOD) expects to reduce operating costs and streamline business processes. DOD faces several implementation issues that, if not resolved, could undermine the success of the program. So far, DOD has not completed a detailed plan to implement its strategic vision. Officials have been unable to draft a DOD-wide implementation plan that is acceptable to the military services and agencies, and the plan has been put on hold. DOD has not developed a systemwide electronic commerce architecture, which is needed to integrate the individual parts or systems. If DOD components develop separate architectures, they may be redundant or unable to share information. DOD has not determined how best to manage the electronic commerce program, although it has established an office; however, the office's authority is unclear and its chain of command is cumbersome. Finally, DOD has not fully implemented key security measures that are needed. Electronic business-related initiatives have been or are being implemented. Although the initiatives may improve aspects of the business processes, it is not yet clear if and how they will fit into DOD's electronic commerce architecture and support its strategic vision.
GAO noted that: (1) DOD faces several implementation issues that, if not resolved, could adversely effect the success of its electronic commerce program; (2) DOD has not yet: (a) completed a detailed plan to implement its strategic vision; (b) developed an electronic commerce architecture; (c) determined how to best manage the electronic commerce program; and (d) fully implemented key security measures that are needed for electronic commerce; (3) the officials responsible for developing a Department-wide implementation plan have not been able to draft a plan that is acceptable to DOD's military services and agencies; (4) a Department-wide plan has thus been put on hold, and DOD's components are developing individual plans; (5) without an overarching, Department-wide plan to guide the military service and Defense agency efforts, the individual plans that result may not be consistent with program goals; (6) in addition, DOD has made little progress in developing a common electronic commerce architecture, which is needed to provide a framework to integrate the individual parts or systems; (7) Department components may develop separate architectures, which may lead to systems and capabilities that are redundant or unable to share information; (8) DOD established an electronic commerce program office, but its authority is unclear and its chain of command is cumbersome and, as a result, the office has been hampered in carrying out its program planning and implementation responsibilities; (9) DOD is taking steps to improve the program office's effectiveness, but these steps may not be sufficient; (10) DOD's ability to transact business electronically, particularly over the Internet, will not be as secure as desired until it completes ongoing work necessary to better protect and authenticate electronic transactions and data; (11) DOD is implementing a number of specific, electronic business-related initiatives that it believes will help modernize selected business processes; (12) these initiatives, which are at various stages of implementation, include: (a) expanding the use of purchase cards to streamline aspects of the procurement process; (b) establishing an electronic mall as a source of supplies for DOD customers, and (c) making aspects of the contracting process paper-free; and (13) many of these initiatives began several years ago, and they predate the Defense Reform Initiative and the electronic commerce program.Recommendations
Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.Director: Team: Phone: