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Need for IT Management Accountability at Defense
A GAO report criticizes the Pentagon's management of a major IT project because "no one entity is clearly in charge or accountable for results...."

The report, "DEFENSE ACQUISITIONS: DOD Management Approach and Processes Not Well-Suited to Support Development of Global Information Grid" explains that "Without a management approach optimized to enforce department-wide investment decisions, DOD is at risk of not knowing whether the GIG is being developed within cost and schedule, whether risks are being adequately mitigated, or whether the GIG will provide a worthwhile return on DOD's investment."

The Global Information Grid (GIG) is a "large and complex set of programs and initiatives intended to provide an Internet-like capability allowing users at virtually any location to access data on demand, share information in real time, collaborate in decision making regardless of which military service produced which weapon system, and have greater joint command of a battle situation."

DOD currently estimates that "the GIG infrastructure will cost approximately $34 billion through 2011."

The private sector will play a key role in providing DOD with the tools, including advanced cybersecurity technologies, needed for the GIG. As the National Security Agency explains, the "preponderance of GIG functionality will be realized through leveraging commercial technologies and standards augmented as necessary to meet unique DoD mission-critical needs for availability, integrity, confidentiality, access control and non-repudiation."

DOD has accepted GAO's recommendation the Pentagon "adopt a management approach with more clearly defined leadership, authority to enforce investment decisions across organizational lines, and accountability for ensuring the objectives of the GIG are achieved."

The Department may find actual implementation of the GAO recommendation to be quite challenging. However, the importance of the GIG, and the massive associated investment, should provide substantial incentive to succeed.

  • Click for GAO Report
  • Click for NSA on GIG's Reliance on Industry

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