DOD brass promise to bring logistics to the Web

DOD brass promise to bring logistics to the Web

NMCI will help the Navy bolster logistics systems, Rear Adm. Richard Mayo says.

'Most difficult hurdle will be our own institutional resistance to change'

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

The Defense Department will do whatever it takes to meet the Joint Chiefs of Staff's recommendations that it make expansive use of the Web for logistics support.

'This isn't a matter of something we'd like to do,' said Army Lt. Gen. John McDuffie, director of logistics for the Joint Chiefs. 'It's been directed. The strategy's there' in the Joint Chiefs' recently released report, Joint Vision 2020.

'The most difficult hurdle will be our own institutional resistance to change,' he said.

The 45-page report paints a picture of information superiority, and cooperation and communications across the services and with allies [GCN, June 5, Page 1]. Developing more reliable logistics systems is a key part of the plan.

Working together

The military services must work together and agree on common standards or they will just extend their legacy logistics systems onto the Web, said Brig. Gen. Anthony 'Bud' Bell, director of the Air Force-Global Combat Support System.

Joint Vision 2020 calls on DOD by 2002 to implement systems that can improve managing assets. As part of those improvements, the Joint Chiefs said, DOD logistics systems must be capable of setting and meeting the shipping demands of their military users and of providing accurate and detailed status information.

By 2006, the Joint Chiefs said, all DOD forces need to have implemented a shared Web environment for logistics ordering and tracking.

The services will develop companion strategies to Joint Vision 2020 and the services' chief information officers can then draft systems plans based on those strategies, the DOD officials said. Bell and McDuffie spoke this month at the DOD Electronic Commerce Day sponsored by the Defense Logistics Agency's Joint Electronic Commerce Program Office.

Institutional change is a big impediment to improving logistics processes, McDuffie said.

'What I run into is people worried about their jobs,' he said. To those who worry that 'my whole world is going away,' he counseled, 'There's a whole lot more world out there.'

Navy Rear Adm. Raymond Archer III, vice director for DLA's Supply Corps, said DOD has wasted taxpayers' money on logistics systems through the years.

'I see a lot of money going down the drain,' he said at the conference.

The Navy-Marine Corps Intranet procurement will help Navy officials improve their logistics systems and meet the Joint Chiefs' goals, said Rear Adm. Richard W. Mayo, the Navy's director of space, information warfare and command and control.

Navy users will be able to tap NMCI services 'to do supply chain management end to end, as well as asset visibility,' he said.

At DLA, through the Business Systems Modernization contract, officials plan to replace more than 120 legacy systems in five years with a single logistics system, said Army Lt. Gen. Henry T. Glisson, DLA's director. 'This is scary stuff,' he said.

Once DLA awards a contract later this summer, the agency will replace two primary materiel management systems: the Standard Automated Materiel Management System, which runs on an IBM mainframe with assembler and Cobol code, and the Defense Integration Subsistence Management System.

'This is the heart and soul of what we do,' he said.

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