Billions Wasted in DoD Because of Duplicate Business Systems

The Dept. of Defenses has too many business systems and no central repository of information necessary to manage effectively.

The Department of Defense has 2274 business systems for everything from tracking its inventory of supplies to tracking personnel actions.

Actually, says the General Accounting Office, no one really knows how many systems there are in the agency because no one is counting but 2274 is the number GAO was able to locate.

How can this many systems help the agency keep track of its inventory and its spending? It can’t do that, concludes GAO.

In fact, the $19 billion requested in fiscal year 2004 to modernize and improve its business systems is largely a waste of money.

The money is used by DOD components – each with its own system funding – to develop narrowly focused solutions to their specific business problems.

And, says GAO, the waste, fraud and abuse it continues to find in the agency are often the result of these multiple business systems. (See the report on the left hand side of this page about problems with travel expenses in the agency.)

GAO recommends a couple of solutions, including establishing a central repository of information and more Congressional oversight of the agency’s systems.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47