Quentin L. Peach | SPS extends its reach via the Web
Interview with Col. Quentin L. Peach, head of the Army's Standard Procurement System
- By Dawn S. Onley
- Oct 18, 2005
Col. Quentin L. Peach, SPS leader
Col. Quentin L. Peach recently became the first Army Reservist ever to head up the Standard Procurement System, an automated contracting system that standardizes procurement processes across the Defense Department.
Although his first day on the job was July 26, Peach is not new to Army acquisitions. In 1990, Peach began his acquisition career at the U.S. Army Information Software Command-Development Center in Fort Lee, Va. He served as a software engineer and project officer for numerous acquisition systems, including the Standard Army Retail System Objective, the Unit Level Logistics System-Ground and the Standard Property Book System-Redesign.
Peach has dual bachelor's degrees in history and anthropology from Kansas State University. He has a master's in management information systems from Strayer University, Fredericksburg, Va.
GCN senior writer Dawn S. Onley interviewed Peach in his Fairfax, Va., office.GCN: What is your primary objective with the Standard Procurement System?
PEACH: My primary objective with SPS is twofold. One is to start off with getting Increment 2 totally fielded to the Army and Air Force within the next year, as well as finishing development on Increment 3'get it accepted, tested and start deploying it to the field.GCN: Give me a little background on what Increment 2 and Increment 3 are. What new features do they have?
PEACH: Increment 2 is a client-server-based architecture. For Increment 3, we've taken what we have in Increment 2 and enhanced it with some new features and turned it into a Web system. One of the nicest things about this is now you're no longer dependent on client-server. The Web, you can use worldwide.
We have a whole suite of things under SPS. You have SPS'the standard which everyone is familiar with that is used at all the camps, posts and stations. Then we have what we consider the contingency piece of that, which is nothing more than taking one of those systems and using it for contingency operations.GCN: What's the time frame on Increment 3?
PEACH: As of right now, we start our testing in the February 2006 time frame, and then we move on to final approval in [the] March time frame. Hopefully we'll be able to start fielding sometime in the fourth quarter 2006.GCN: Will moving SPS to the Web bring an added benefit to the troops in Iraq?
PEACH: Our target audience is camps, posts and stations as well as soldiers in the field. The answer is yes, it should be a benefit. Right now, we have units in Iraq that are using Increment 2 and are using Increment 1 with what they call BRCCS [Battle Ready Contingency Contracting System]. BRCCS is a version of SPS that is deployed on laptops.
BRCCS is nothing more than taking a full server application and putting it on a standalone computer system and giving them a few instances where they can do reports off that server, and allow them to also put in some information up front.
This gives them a quick set of information that allows them to go forward and do contracting on the fly in a small, remote location without having to be hooked up to the primary server. And that's one of the biggest benefits that this piece of the contingency contracting brings.
The Army has several units who are using it over there or who have used it in the past. The Marine Corps is doing a test pilot with BRCCS at different locations in the world. We've got the Air Force using SPS Increment 1 in Saudi Arabia.GCN: How is SPS being used in Iraq and Afghanistan?
PEACH: In November, I'm going over to Iraq to see how it's currently being used. Currently, I can tell you they are doing some local contracting with it.
The Marines are using it in the Horn of Africa region to provide such things as water, health care, construction.
In Katrina, we had both the Army Corps of Engineers and the Navy using SPS in support, as well as the Air Force. The Air Force has been providing humanitarian support from Keesler Air Force Base [in Biloxi, Miss.] and Hurlburt Air Force Base [in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.]. They've been the ones who have been the primary support for Katrina.GCN: For a while, SPS was over budget and behind schedule. Is the program now on budget and schedule?
PEACH: Yes, it is, and a lot of that is thanks to [former SPS program manager] Col. Jacob Haynes. Col. Haynes turned this program around while he was here and left me a program that is solid where it's headed. We are within our budget and within schedule.
We've been designated as one of the six enterprise business systems for DOD.GCN: What are the budgetary figures now?
PEACH: To date, our budgetary figures from 1997-2005, we have spent $485 million in the program management office. Out of that, $350 million were in acquisition costs and $135 million was for operational support.GCN: What new functionality is planned for the program?
PEACH: First of all, going to the Web gets us off of the technical requirements involved with having independent client-server technology. Some of the major functions we will have coming in here are the organizational-based security model, enhanced-clause engine and the ability for users to check errors at the point of entry of document creation.
The enhanced clause is the ability to build better clauses than they have today through the JRB [Joint Requirements Board]. These are service members who are designated by their service or DOD agency, and they are the ones who have determined what we need to put into the clauses area. So using their guidance, we've built some new clause ability within the new product so that we get into the users hands what they've been asking for.
The clause is a neat little tool that comes online with any of our products. Basically, within the Federal Acquisition Regulations, to build a client contract, you have to have a series of clauses associated with that, and that's to tell our contractors how the DOD does business. So the clause lays out policy, procedure and statutory law as part of the contracting environment. The clause matrix allows the buyers in automated fashion to tailor the contract.GCN: What other improvements do you expect?
PEACH: One of the biggest advantages the department is driving towards is consolidation of platforms. Currently we support upwards of 200 operating locations with databases at each location. So as we migrate, we're going to be able to offer the department a capability to consolidate those platforms into whatever number of operating locations they wish to scale to.
Increment 3 gives us the scalability, the technical architecture to make that happen efficiently.
From a functional standpoint, we're going formless. What that means is we'll no longer be tied to forms, as we are in the current system. It means we'll be able to put the data in the database and pull it out the way you want to use it for report generation. That's a major enhancement in the system.
One of the legacy ways of doing development is you take a form and you build that form and you enter the data into that form. We've gone past that with the Web system now. It allows us to build the screen for the user so that the user can enter the information they want to use, and it will print out the actual contracting reports the way they want them. But it's not tied directly to a form, as it has been in the past. It's very data-centric.GCN: Will SPS eventually ride on the Global Information Grid?
PEACH: We operate on the standard DOD system. It's presently run through the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Non-Classified IP Router Network. And as they modify that process and bring on line elements of the GIG, we're positioned to operate on that location because we're going be totally Web, so we will be totally reliant on the DOD architecture.