DOD revamps process for overseeing IT buys

Defense aims to settle IT buying
issues at the lowest possible level, CIO Arthur Money says.





The Defense Department is replacing a 20-year-old acquisition process for approving
information systems buys with a process that delegates more authority to the services and
Defense agencies.


Deputy Defense secretary John Hamre signed a memorandum late last month that dissolved
the Major Automated Information System Review Council and replaced it with integrated
product teams. IPTs are made up of service representatives, from all functional
disciplines, who run acquisition programs.


Defense established MAISRC in 1978 under DOD Directive 7920.1 and DOD Instruction
7920.2. The directive and instruction outlined Defense’s system lifecycle management
policies. DOD updated the directive in 1993 and again in 1996 to reflect the addition of
IPTs and to integrate weapons systems and information systems oversight.


“Since that time, oversight of major automated information system acquisition
programs has been largely conducted through the integrated product team process,”
Hamre said in the memo.


The memo said that the teaming process, paired with successful acquisition reform
measures, has made it rarely necessary to hold a formal MAISRC meeting.


There are three kinds of IPTs:


Hamre redesignated the MAISRC Overarching IPT as the Information Technology Overarching
IPT.


“The IT OIPT will continue the precedent set by the MAISRC OIPT of resolving all
acquisition category program issues at the lowest possible level,” said Arthur Money,
senior civilian official in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command,
Control, Communications and Intelligence, in a July 28 memo.


The acquisition category programs spend more than $30 million in a single year and have
total program costs in excess of $120 million or total lifecycle costs in excess of $360
million.


“Issues that cannot be resolved by working-level IPTs will be elevated to the IT
OIPT,” Money said.


The ASD(C3I) is also DOD’s chief information officer and in that role will
continue to serve as the acquisition executive for systems, Money said.


When the IPT process cannot resolve a problem with a program, the CIO or his designee
will convene a special review, he said.


The IT OIPT will also develop and implement procedures for managing Defense IT
investments as required by the Information Technology Management Reform Act and other
procurement regulations, Money said.


Over the next six to 12 months, the IT OIPT will switch its focus from review of
individual acquisitions or systems to delegating more authority to the services and
Defense agencies, Money said. That way, he said, DOD can look “horizontally across
portfolios of IT investments.” 

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