Pilot system to analyze defense spending

The spending analysis system will let users identify procurement trends, buying patterns and opportunities for strategic purchasing, Mark Krzysko says.

Henrik G. de Gyor

The Defense Department has launched a pilot to help military brass understand what they're buying and where they're buying it.

The department is building a system to pull data from disparate databases for analysis by DOD buying teams, said Mark Krzysko, deputy director of Defense procurement and acquisition policy.

The department expects to begin testing the first iteration of the 11-month, $950,000 pilot in October. The project is funded by the Navy Department's eBusiness Operations Office, which recently identified four projects to begin pilot implementation under the Rapid Acquisition Incentive-Net Centricity program for 2004.

Krzysko said users will be able to identify procurement trends, buying patterns and opportunities for strategic purchasing, which will result in cost savings and quality improvements.

A negative report last year from the General Accounting Office was one catalyst for the project, officials said. Auditors reported that DOD needed to improve the way it manages the $100 billion it spends on services contracts.

Follow the money

The audit found Defense procurement processes 'inefficient and ineffective' and noted 'the dollars are not always spent well.' GAO also called DOD's process for tracking buys 'decentralized, insufficiently rigorous, and unreliable.'

Diane Morrison, DOD business enterprise manager, said the department set up the spending analysis pilot after the services reported that they shared business objectives.

'We found that every one of them had a similar concern' that we did not have good information as to what we were spending our dollars on,' Morrison said. 'Everybody saw there was a gap that needed to be filled. The department was spending in duplicative fashion.'

The pilot will integrate relational data sources, enterprise information integration and business intelligence software that employs Web services and Extensible Markup Language to pull data from hundreds of sources to create an aggregated, virtual data source, Morrison said.

Specifically, the pilot will use Web services to link 'two disparate, relational data sources belonging to the Army and Air Force via enterprise information integration software,' Morrison said.

The pilot uses the Web Services Interoperability Organization's Web Services Basic Profile 1.0; Web Services Security, developed by an industry group including IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp. and VeriSign Inc. of Mountain View, Calif.; and Webi 6.1A from Business Objects Inc. of San Jose, Calif..

DOD started work on the pilot last December and will wrap up the first phase of the project in November. If the pilot is successful, the department plans to roll it out to more than 100,000 military acquisition employees, Morrison said.

'We're proving this concept. We will build a prototype to hedge out some of the core technologies then take it a step further and really decide what it is going to take to scale it to the enterprise,' said Anna Norris, a support contractor with Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. of McLean, Va.

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