DOD sets plan for financial system

DOD sets plan for financial system

The Defense Department is designing a financial and accounting systems architecture and expects the Defense Fi-nance and Accounting Service to approve it this month.

On Jan. 25, DFAS closed bidding on a request for quotations to design a financial management enterprise architecture, said Cathy Ferguson, a spokeswoman for DFAS.

When implemented, the architecture will 'provide a blueprint that will guide the building of an integrated financial management system that will help prevent inappropriate financial transactions,' said Tina W. Jonas, deputy undersecretary of Defense for financial management, during a congressional subcommittee hearing last summer.

DOD has long been criticized by the General Accounting Office and the Defense inspector general for having hundreds of separate financial and accounting systems that don't interoperate. They say the systems, which feed data into DOD's critical accounting systems, are outdated and stovepiped, resulting in unreliable financial information.

Call for help

The situation became so bad that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld established a departmentwide Financial Management Modernization Program last summer to look at ways to establish the architecture. DOD received $100 million in fiscal 2002 appropriations to begin funding the project.

Rumsfeld also set up a group made up of industry and Defense leaders to find ways to improve DOD's financial systems.

Before DFAS was created 12 years ago, military branches owned and operated their own finance and accounting systems under a policy set by the DOD comptroller.

Defense has 674 separate computerized accounting, logistics and personnel systems, said comptroller Dov S. Zakheim in an interview with the American Forces Information Service. That number is expected to be trimmed to about 50 under the modernization plan.

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