Computer spending doesn't pay off for DOD

Congressional critics charge that despite spending billions of dollars on new
computers, the Defense Department has not benefited from its Corporate Information
Management program.


DOD launched the CIM campaign in 1989 as a way to yield better results from its systems
investments. CIM had two chief goals: streamline business operations and implement
standard administrative systems DOD-wide.


But eight years and $20 billion later, the department has reaped little of the $36
billion in savings projected at CIM's start, lawmakers said this month at a hearing of the
Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.


"This is because DOD continues to automate its old way of doing business,"
said Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), the committee's chairman.


"From the taxpayers' perspective, it would be better to stop funding these systems
now and keep the money in the bank."


The General Accounting Office in February identified the CIM program as one of six DOD
high-risk projects vulnerable to waste, fraud, abuse and financial mismanagement.


"I must agree that DOD is indeed at risk if these [business process
re-engineering] tenets are not carried out," Emmett Paige Jr., the outgoing assistant
secretary of Defense for command, control, communications and intelligence, told the
committee.


"Our not-so-good news is our business process re-engineering," Paige
testified three weeks before retiring as DOD's chief information officer.


DOD has more than 160 BPR projects working, but Paige said these represent "just a
drop in the bucket when you look at DOD."


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