DOD falls short of asset visibility goal

DOD falls short of asset visibility goal

The Defense Department has missed its 2004 goal of achieving total asset visibility of roughly $70 billion in inventory and faces impediments to reaching its revised 2010 target.

In a new report, the Government Accountability Office said DOD has made limited progress on achieving better visibility of its wholesale and retail supply inventory but still has much to do.

The 1998 DOD Logistics Strategic Plan established a goal for attaining 100 percent visibility by this year. The department has since pushed that milestone out six years.

The Pentagon, military services and Defense Logistics Agency have numerous inventory management systems that monitor specific segments of their inventories and share data with other systems. But this doesn't occur in near real time nor is there visibility over all inventory areas, GAO said.

Although Defense agencies have ongoing efforts to modernize business systems and improve logistics operations, 'these systems by themselves will not provide total asset visibility because the TAV capability is dependent on additional systems that have not yet been developed,' the report said. 'Similarly, the capability to share data both within the respective organizations and on a departmentwide level is currently evolving.'

GAO questioned whether the 2010 goal is realistic given the work that still must be done.

The audit agency recommended DOD:

  • Develop a departmentwide long-term strategy that describes the complete management structure, assigns accountability to specific offices, sets multiple milestones and details performance measures

  • Create a strategy that identifies the resources needed to achieve the goal

  • Identify how the department will resolve technical issues that affect implementation

  • Draft a strategy for establishing outcome-oriented TAV goals and linking measurement metrics to timeliness.

The department mostly agreed with the intent of GAO's recommendations but disagreed with the approach.

'TAV is an enabler, not an end to itself,' noted Bradley Berkson, acting principal assistant deputy undersecretary of Defense for logistics and materiel readiness. 'Asset visibility is the byproduct of any well designed and enabled end-to-end supply chain.'

In a written response to GAO, Berkson said DOD officials believe 'that our strategy of modernizing our logistics systems and implementing an integrated data approach is the way to achieve' the goal of total asset visibility.


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