Army systems office seeks agility, efficiency

Army systems office seeks agility, efficiency

'The Army has realigned itself to combine the military and civilian sectors in a way that assures there's one button to push for different functional areas.'
'KEVIN CARROLL, OFFICE OF ENTERPRISE INFORMATION SYSTEMS

The Army's effort at transformation is apparent in the new scope of Kevin Carroll's office.

The service is creating a quicker, more agile version of itself. IT plays a major role in the plan, and Carroll's Office of Enterprise Information Systems has expanded dramatically to accommodate the change.

Carroll saw his staff grow from 160 to almost 600 employees when his unit in Fort Belvoir, Va., merged with a systems acquisition group from Fort Monmouth, N.J., and an Army R&D division in Radford, Va.

The change presents him with new management challenges.

'Smaller is better in government for getting things done,' Carroll said. 'Larger, although there's lots of opportunity, can make things too bureaucratic.'

The number of systems and programs under his control has jumped as well, from 39 to 79.

Carroll said he plans to take a corporate approach in delegating duties to two or three senior managers in his organization, and at headquarters he will establish metrics to measure the progress of programs and centers.

The enterprise systems office will work with Network Command, a new division the Army is expected to establish in late spring to develop and run its enterprise architecture, Carroll said. NETCOM will report to the Army CIO, and the division will be comprised of military and civilian personnel and contractors, Carroll said.

Delegate tasks

The enterprise systems office 'would build the infrastructure, deliver the software and get it on the network. At that point, NETCOM would be operating that network,' Carroll said.

Carroll also must determine how to manage facilities hundreds of miles apart in Virginia and New Jersey. The keys to managing them effectively, he said, are to appoint capable supervisors at those offices and to develop a smart strategy for assigning logistics, personnel and other functions to the facilities. Carroll said he would remain based at Fort Belvoir.

Another hurdle, he said, will be to maintain the high level of personal attention and customer service that were a focus of each office before they were rolled into EIS.

The adjustments, while challenging, are also exciting, Carroll said, because they expand his role within the Army.

'The Army has realigned itself to combine the military and civilian sectors in a way that assures there's one button to push for different functional areas,' Carroll said.

As a result, he will be more strategic. 'I can play more of an integration role.'

'On the negative side of that,' Carroll countered, 'I have to manage differently because I can't get into every program now.'

Carroll will play a pivotal role in EIS' major programs, such as developing the Global Combat Support System-Army, a tactical logistics system, and renovating the IT infrastructure in the Pentagon, which is expected to be completed by Sept. 11'a year to the day from the terrorist attacks.

He will also oversee the Army's portion of the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System, a departmentwide payroll and personnel system for the military's active and reserve units that will replace dozens of legacy systems. The Army will be the first service to deploy the system in the spring of 2004.

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